Natchez Trace Park visitors frustrated by federal closures

“Please open back up the government, please.”

Natchez Trace Park visitors frustrated by federal closures
Public Information Center on the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland is closed during operating hours while shutdown continues. Source: WLBT

RIDGELAND, MS (WLBT) - President Donald Trump addressed the nation Tuesday night about the federal shutdown which is well into its second week.

The closures are affecting some tourism in the Magnolia State.

Federal sites like the Public Information Center on the Natchez Trace in Ridgeland are closed. The doors are locked and visitors can’t go inside.

“Please open back up the government, please,” Jonathan Perkins passionately asked. The Atlanta native is frustrated about the shutdown and its affect on employees and the Natchez Trace Park he visits.

“I usually ride my bike out here, so it’s really unfortunate I can’t come,” said Perkins. “Nothing’s being maintained. I just don’t understand the whole government shutdown because I feel like it’s being done for selfish reasons.”

Visitors to the historic parkway and sites can still enjoy the scenery, but there will be no services including: maintenance of the grounds, trash collection or information. Bathrooms are open but are not being managed.

Graffiti against federal shutdown appears on sign warning visitors of Public Information Center closure. Source: WLBT
Graffiti against federal shutdown appears on sign warning visitors of Public Information Center closure. Source: WLBT

A sign at the Public Information Center warns of the federal closures. The National Park Service website states that some parks will be closed, and services will not be provided during the federal shutdown.

Jim Simmons of Ridgeland walks at the park regularly and said tree limbs had fallen along his path. He believes the shutdown is political and unnecessary.

"I almost got hit by a falling branch at one point. The shutdown itself, I'm very much opposed to," added Simmons.

According to the National Park Service, campgrounds remain open without services and Park Rangers are still patrolling the Natchez Trace.

Some parks along the national roadway may be closed.

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