Short-Lived Shutdown of Monument is Second Time in Five Years

By Seth Daniel

A couple of tourists coming
to the Monument on Saturday found out that they couldn’t climb to the top of the Monument .

Signs intertwined in the fencing of the Monument announced yet another shutdown of the historical site this past weekend and through Monday, marking the second time in five years that a government-funding shutdown has affected the heart of Charlestown.

At midnight on Friday, and without a funding deal in place, the government officially shut down, meaning that many National Park Service (NPS) sites would not be open.

Though the Trump administration did allow for funding to be used from other sources to prevent great inconvenience, it wasn’t enough to keep the Monument open and some visitor’s centers open in downtown Boston.

Early on Saturday morning, NPS Spokesman Sean Hennessey said that many things would be open, but a few things would not – including the Monument. After that communication, he said via e-mail that he would have to cease communications due to furlough.

“Due to the federal government shutdown, National Parks and all visitor facilities and services managed by the National Park Service in Boston are closed,” he wrote. “National Park partner sites along Boston’s iconic Freedom Trail and Black History Trail are open to visitors, including: the Museum of African American History, USS Constitution Museum, USS Constitution, Old South Meeting House, Old State House, Paul Revere House and Old North Church are open.”

The open air parks and grounds of the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown and the Dorchester Heights Monument in South Boston were open and accessible to visitors, but the monuments, Bunker Hill Lodge and the Battle of Bunker Hill Museum were closed.

All of the Navy Yard sites – including the USS Constitution and the Constitution Museum –  did remain open. The NPS visitor center in the Navy Yard was closed.

A visitor’s center on Devonshire Street downtown was also closed.

Though there were some visitors who were surprised to find the Monument closed, traffic was light due to the winter conditions and the slow tourist season.

By Tuesday, the sites were back open and operating once a temporary federal spending bill had been approved, though it only covers spending through Feb. 8.

The last shutdown came in October 2013 when both the Monument and the USS Constitution were closed, among many other sites.

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