Military park reopens after shutdown endsPublished 8:25pm Thursday, October 17, 2013
With the United States Federal Government back open for business, one of the direct results is the resuming of operations at Horseshoe Bend National Military Park.
After Congress passed legislation to fund the government Wednesday night, Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, like other national parks around the country, reopened on Thursday after a 16-day government shutdown.
Doyle Sapp, superintendent of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, said the biggest effect of the shutdown was staff not being able to operate the facilities.
“The main thing is that we were not open and not able to serve the public, so they were not able to come into the park,” Sapp said. “Now, we are able to start planning for the bicentennial of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in March.”
During the shutdown, facilities at the park were locked, maintenance was halted and the boat ramp was closed, as only a few law enforcement personnel were allowed at the site.
Sapp said they “were sweating” the shutdown as the days approached for the Alabama Historical Association’s Fall Pilgrimage. Association members will be at the park Saturday for a day of lectures, living history and a tour of the historic War of 1812 battleground.
Sapp added that besides a few minor inconveniences, the park is back to business as usual.
“We have had the usual stuff where we haven’t been able to cut the grass or keep up the park in that way, keeping up the aesthetics of the park,” Sapp said. “We are back open, we’re here and ready to serve our visitors.”
Horseshoe Bend National Military Park will operate at its usual hours, with the visitor center open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the tour road open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The park is open every day except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
The park boat ramp is open from dawn to dusk daily.
The 2013 government shutdown, which began Oct. 1, was the second longest in U.S. history, following a 21-day shutdown from Dec. 15, 1995 to Jan. 6, 1996.
The 2013 shutdown came to an end Wednesday night when the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to fund the government through Jan. 15 by a vote of 285 to 144.
The legislation passed in the U.S. Senate earlier in the evening by a vote of 81 to 18, and also lifts the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, as the U.S. government was set to reach its borrowing limit on Thursday and would not have had the funding to continue repaying its debts.
Record Managing Editor David D. Goodwin contributed to this story.