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Vicksburg National Military Park to stay open if gov’t shuts down

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.
Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, the official non-profit partner organization of VNMP, has committed to fund basic operations to keep the Vicksburg National Military Park open in the event of a government shutdown, through the help of donors and partners. The tour road, the Visitor’s Center, the U.S.S. Cairo and Museum, the National Cemetery and all restrooms will be kept open in the event of a government shutdown. Minimal staff to operate those sites and protect VNMP including essential interpretive rangers, maintenance staff, and law enforcement staff will facilitate the operations to ensure the shutdown has as little impact on the visitor experience as possible. 
The deadline for Congress to fund the national budget which pays to operate the Vicksburg National Military Park is Thursday, February 8, 2018, at midnight. During the last government shutdown in January 2018, Vicksburg National Military Park was closed for three days.
“Vicksburg National Military Park represents such an important chapter of America’s story. We never want even one visitor to be turned away from our Park,” said Bess Averett, Executive Director of Friends of VNMP. “We are fortunate to have staff at VNMP who share our passion for this historic place and its story and have worked to pioneer this opportunity to provide an option to keep VNMP open in the event of a shutdown.” 
VNMP is the most visited tourist attraction in Mississippi. Over half a million visitors a year travel from all over the nation and world to visit VNMP and are vital to the local and regional economy. The latest Economic Impact Study released from the National Park Service shows that for every one dollar spent on basic operations at VNMP, the economic impact on the region is $10.
“VNMP will remain open. As the official Friends Group for the Park, we work together all year on important projects and events for VNMP. We can think of no higher priority project we can take on than keeping the gates and museums open and sharing this amazing treasure with the public,” said Averett. 

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