How shutdown will affect Natchez National Historical Park is unclear

Published 11:23 am Friday, December 21, 2018


NATCHEZ — How the Natchez National Historical Park will be affected by a partial shutdown of the government is unclear.

Natchez National Historical Park Superintendent Kathleen Bond said she cannot speculate what will happen but will learn more details at 2 p.m. today.

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Officials from the National Park Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C., have issued the following statement:

“We are not going to speculate on any possible changes in government operations. National parks are open and continue to welcome visitors.”

Lawmakers in D.C. have yet to approve funding for the National Park Service and eight other departments of the federal government.

The U.S. Senate has been called back into session Friday to consider a package approved by House Republicans late Thursday, which includes the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump wants for the border with Mexico.

Senators had passed their own bipartisan bill earlier in the week to keep the government running, with border security at existing levels, $1.3 billion, but no money for the wall. Both bills would extend government funding through Feb. 8.

Without a bill approved by both houses of Congress and signed by Trump, a partial shutdown of the government is set to begin at midnight.

During a government shutdown in January, Fort Rosalie and other parks that are normally left open at night remained open to the public. Sites such as Melrose and the William Johnson House in Natchez, which provide visitor services during the day and close to the public at the end of the day, remained closed and did not open until after the shutdown.

As a city-owned facility, the Natchez Visitor Reception Center remained open, although National Park Service offices were closed to the public.

Some personnel continued to work to provide authorized communications and protect life and property.

Facing a midnight deadline to avoid a partial government shutdown, President Donald Trump said Friday a closure could drag on “for a very long time.”