Would-be visitors to national parks, concessionaires frustrated by U.S. shutdown

 The National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge National Historical Park. (Emma Lee/File photo for NewsWorks)

The National Memorial Arch at Valley Forge National Historical Park. (Emma Lee/File photo for NewsWorks)

Federal parkland and concessions remain closed this week, as the government shutdown drags on into an eighth day. It’s precipitating frustration among those who want to visit the parks and those who are out of work because the parks are closed.


The historic 18th-century City Tavern in Philadelphia, which is run as a concession of the National Parks Service, was ordered to close by 3 on Oct. 2, said Molly Yun, public relations director.

“At this point it’s laughable, but we had hoped the government wouldn’t shut down,” she said Tuesday. “And there we were on Oct. 2 during lunch service and realized we would indeed have to close.”

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“We escorted our last guest out. And at 3 p.m., we locked the doors and cleaned the kitchen and disposed of food and we’ve been closed ever since,” she said.

Staff members are calling in every day, concerned about their lack of hours, she said.

“I had a good weekend,” said chef Tony Burnett, who was able to do something he never gets to do, which is watch Sunday football. “But the only thing is, this problem is still hanging in the back of my head,” he said. “What’s going to happen on Monday?”

In Valley Forge National Historical Park, marathon runner John Bell of Chadds Ford was ticketed when he parked his car Sunday in a lot along state Route 23, which bisects the park and remains open. He plans to challenge his $100 ticket.

Bell’s lawyer, Jeremy Ibrahim, expressed frustration that seemed emblematic of the week of closures.

“It’s about access to a national park that is guaranteed to all Americans,” he said.

By email, the remaining communications staff at the Department of the Interior responded that the agency’s “first priority is for the public’s safety and we are therefore asking people to respect the posted closures so that our limited staff can concentrate on protecting park resources.”

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