CHECOTAH, Oklahoma -- The site of the largest Civil War battle in Oklahoma could be turned into a National Park in a proposal released this week by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
The Honey Springs Battlefield Historic Site in Muskogee and McIntosh counties is one of two projects Salazar is highlighting in a report that is a part of America's Great Outdoors Initiative.
The other is the 141-mile long Blue River Wildlife Management Area in southeastern Oklahoma.
"Under the America's Great Outdoors Initiative, we are listening to the people of Oklahoma and communities across America and working with them on locally-based projects that will conserve the beauty and health of our land and water and open up more opportunities for people to enjoy them," Ken Salazar said. "My staff and I have been asking each governor for the most promising projects to support in their states, and we will do all we can to help move them forward."
The battlefield was shaped in July 1863, when 9,000 troops fought during the war between the states just 3 and a half miles northeast of Checotah.
Honey Springs was the first Civil War battlefield where African Americans took up arms.
The Blue River lies within jurisdictional boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation and is also part of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.
The Interior Department says it supports the designation of Honey Springs as a National Battlefield Park and the Blue River as a National Blueway.