Government shutdown closes Natchez Trace facilities

Certain parts of the Natchez Trace Parkway would be closed if a government shutdown took place. One of those is the Natchez Trace Visitor Center. (C.J. LeMaster, WTVA)
Certain parts of the Natchez Trace Parkway would be closed if a government shutdown took place. One of those is the Natchez Trace Visitor Center. (C.J. LeMaster, WTVA)
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Updated: 10/02/2013 9:05 am
TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) — Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service has closed all 401 national parks, including the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The Parkway motor road remains open, but no government facilities are available.

All restrooms, visitor centers, sites, campgrounds, etc. are closed.

Law enforcement Rangers remain on-duty for protection of Parkway resources and to ensure public safety, and visitors are reminded that they are not to enter a closed or barricaded area of the park.

The closure will remain in effect until the government reopens.

Acting Superintendent Dale Wilkerson said that park visitors in all overnight campgrounds will be given until 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, October 3 to make travel arrangements and leave the park.

In addition, all park programs and special events have been or will be canceled.

The Natchez Trace Parkway hosts almost 16,000 recreational visitors on average each day in October; nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System.

Nationwide the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping.

Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown.

Visitors to the Natchez Trace Parkway spend about $93 million per year in the communities surrounding the park.

At the Natchez Trace Parkway, 127 employees are on furlough because of the shutdown.

Approximately 30 employees remain on duty, providing security and emergency services.

In an emergency visitors should call 911, or they may call the Park Emergency Dispatch Center at 662-680-4002.
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