The Government Shutdown's Other Victims: Civil-War Reenactors

By John Hendel
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As the U.S. federal government hovers on the edge of a shutdown this Friday, don't forget one major casualty: America's parks and attendant services. The possible shutdown comes near the 150th anniversary of the Civil War's start, the Associated Press reports, which happened at South Carolina's Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. If the U.S. national parks close, then planned reenactments and celebrations at the fort will be impossible:

"I'm shocked. This is a pivotal event in the nation's history," said Jeff Antley, who is coordinating arrangements for an estimated 1,000 re-enactors coming to the city. "You can't say we're going to reschedule for May. The money has been spent. The uniforms have been bought. The travel arrangements have been made."

If the federal government shuts down, then all 394 National Park Service sites would be closed and about 20,000 park service employees would be idled, said David Barna, agency spokesman in Washington. Fifteen-thousand concession employees who run hotels, restaurants and gift shops would likely be idled as well.

In April, about 800,000 people visit national park sites each day and those visitors spend $32 million a day, giving a boost to local economies, he said.

Read the full story at the Associated Press.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/04/the-government-shutdowns-other-victims-civil-war-reenactors/236952/