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How would government shutdown affect Natchez Trace Parkway?

Everyone's talking about a possible government shutdown and the effect it could have on the country. That includes the Natchez Trace Parkway -- a national park in our own backyard.

Posted: Jan. 19, 2018 7:04 PM

TUPELO, MIss. (WTVA) - The Superintendent of the Natchez Trace Parkway, whose office is in the Tupelo Visitor Center, isn't saying much about the effect of a possible government shutdown on the Trace.

Superintendent Mary Risser didn't want to speak on camera, but said official information was just beginning to make its way here from Washington D.C. She says 110 employees work for the Natchez Trace. Most of them are wondering if they'll have a paycheck in the event of a shutdown.

The "Trace," which is just one of 417 national parks in the U.S., stretches 444 miles from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi, through 20 different counties and 25 communities. It's one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the state - and it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Risser says that if the shutdown happens, the Trace itself will remain open, but services like bathrooms and educational activities will not be offered. Construction projects along the Trace would be halted as well.

On the other hand, Risser says, safety will be paramount. Rangers will continue to work the entire length of the Natchez Trace Parkway, which means the 50 mile an hour speed limit will still be enforced.

Superintendent Risser says last year's budget for the Trace was just under $12 million dollars. She also said that if the shutdown does happen, she'll have plenty to say about it.

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