Photo and story by Bailey Wilson / Contributing Writer
Stones River National Battlefield, which is a located on Old Nashville Highway in Murfreesboro, announced that it would be limiting its services to the public due to the recent government shutdown.
The announcement was posted on the park’s Facebook page Saturday morning. The park’s visitor center and park tour road have been closed. However, the park can still be enjoyed on foot or by bicycle between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. via the visitor center parking lot, the park’s McFadden Farm unit and the Redoubt Brannan trailhead. The park can be accessed through the Stones River Greenway as well.
According to a 2017 Stones River “State of the Park” report from the National Park Service, visit numbers have remained steady at over 250,000 since 2012. The park also reported in 2015 that over 10,000 students were served by educational programs at the battlefield on a yearly basis.
The government shutdown began on Friday night after a short-term spending bill was blocked by the Senate. The bill was sent to the Senate after the House of Representatives voted Thursday night to avoid the government shutdown.
According to CNN, many Democrats want to stick to the budget already laid out for government spending. Those who voted against the spending bill did so because they did not want another appropriations bill, which is a bill that gives government money to specific federal government agencies or programs. Many of the disagreements of the bill stemmed from the parties not budging on issues of immigration. According to the Daily News Journal, House members were ready to vote on whatever the Senate passed when they reconvened on Saturday morning. After the Senate adjourned Saturday night, a deal still had not been made. The Senate will vote again in its 1 a.m. session Monday morning. The Senate is moving toward a temporary spending bill in order to keep the government open through February.
When the government shuts down, the whole country is affected. According to reports by CNN, anyone who works for government agencies and departments and is considered “non-essential” will be forced to stop working until a federal budget can be passed. This includes all national parks, such as Stones River National Battlefield. Essential personnel, like the military and the postal service, will continue to work, but they may not get paid.
The battlefield will reopen its services to the public when the government shutdown has been lifted.
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