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Natchez National Historical Park to increase access to Melrose grounds July 8

NATCHEZ — Beginning July 8, 2020, Natchez National Historical Park will reopen access to the grounds at the 80-acre Melrose estate, No. 1 Melrose Montebello Parkway.

The grounds of this National Historic Landmark will be open to the public seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The reopening follows guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities to increase recreational access and services at Natchez National Historical Park.

The National Park Service is working service wide with federal, state and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

The park has designed a self-guided tour of the Melrose estate grounds that is an easy .7-mile walk and follows gravel roads or paved paths for almost the entire route.

Narration at the various stops acknowledges the diversity of people who lived and

worked at the estate. Visitors will be able to use their cell phones to access written, audio and photographic information at specific points identified by sandwich boards with QR codes along this route. There is never an entrance fee for the grounds at Melrose.

The following Natchez National Historical Park spaces continue to be available:

  • The open spaces at the Fort are Rosalie site along South Canal Street. The picnic area along Green Street near the ruins of the French fort remains open from dawn until dusk and the wayside exhibit panels for Fort Rosalie are easily accessible along the South Canal Street sidewalk. Their messaging is presented in both English and French. Fort Rosalie has no entrance fee.

With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed to the public at this time:

  • All interior spaces at the Melrose estate, including public restrooms.
  • The William Johnson House site.
  • The administrative offices of Natchez National Historical Park.
  • A more complete list is found on the park website.

“We encourage visitors who come out to enjoy our new self-guided grounds tour at Melrose to wear lightweight clothing and comfortable shoes, and to bring water with them,” said Kathleen Bond, park superintendent. “It is the warmest time of the year, and the limited opening of the park’s Adaptive Recovery Phase I will not provide access to the interior of any building or to public restrooms — though hand sanitizer will be available outside the Visitor Center. All visitors are encouraged to wear facial coverings within 6 feet of others, if social distancing is not possible and to remain at home if they do not feel well.”