Stones River park beginning to feel effects of government shutdown

Local News

The Stones River National Battlefield Park will remain open during the Government shutdown but the park will be unsupervised for the most part.  

Visitors are being warned to enter at their own risk. The Shutdown is already having an impact on tourism.  

Park visitor Anthony Wiggins didn’t realize at first the trickle-down effect the Government Shutdown would have on local Federal parks.  

“I really didn’t expect that it was going to hit local and home like it did and having one of my favorite places here in Murfreesboro closed,” Wiggins said.  

He hopes it re-opens soon.  

“It’s really kind of sad just want to see it get re-open and see the nice people that work here get back to work,” Wiggins said.  

Since the Government Shutdown, the parking lot of the Battlefield has been all but deserted, with only a few cars. It’s having an impact on tourism.  

“There are usually a lot more people, a lot of people running around.  You see a lot of license plates from out of state, a lot of people stopping and visiting the visitor’s center.  And now it’s just, I mean, I think I’m the only two cars in the parking lot here today.”  

All but one gate to the Battlefield is closed. Signs are posted warning people to use extreme caution when entering the park.    

There will be no National Park Service Personnel to provide assistance, guided tours, or emergency response.  

“You are absolutely on your own,” Wiggins said.  “All the pieces of history are inside that building and you can’t get inside to see any of it.”   

Since Park Rangers are not out patrolling the Battlefield, some people using the park during the Shutdown are concerned about safety.  

“Just hope that you know, it’s safe out,” Wiggins said.  “I mean, you don’t know if people are sleeping in the park or what’s going on.  You just have that element of no one’s here to keep an eye on it.”  

A disabled Veteran, who didn’t give us her name, drove up from Alabama only to find the Battlefield closed.  

“This is unacceptable,” the disabled Veteran said.  “This is a National Battlefield, there is no flag flying.  Across the street are brave souls buried.”  

She is also concerned about the federal workers on furlough.  

“And now they are home without a paycheck and that’s unacceptable,” she said.  “It’s sad that good people are suffering because our government can’t figure things out.”  

Since park services workers are on furlough, some National Parks are been littered with trash. That’s not the case at Stones River.  

On Monday, two students, who are part of the Junior Park Rangers program emptied the trash cans to help keep the Battlefield clean in the absence of the furloughed workers.  

“Kudos to them,” the disabled Veteran said.  “Thank you.  Thank you for parents, it’s the people of America that make America good.  It’s the little kids and their parents that come and help keep our park open.  It’s the volunteers that serve here and teach people our History, that’s what makes America great and can we please figure things out and get our Government back going.”  

In 2016, 346,213 Stones River Battlefield visitors spent nearly $20.2 million in communities near the park.  

The gate to the Stones River Battlefield Visitor’s Center is automatic and is open from dusk to dawn. 

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