The partial government shutdown that started three weeks ago has affected the National Park Service in Oak Ridge.
There are no National Park Service staff members or volunteers working at the Park Service desk at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.
The Park Service left maps and brochures for visitors to pick up at the museum, but there is no one there to give a certain type of stamp that visitors can use to log visits to national parks.
A sign on the National Park Service desk on Friday said “Closed until further notice,” with a simple sketch of a frowning face underneath it.
Oak Ridge is part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. Established about three years ago, the park commemorates the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II. Besides Oak Ridge, the park includes Hanford, Washington, and Los Alamos, New Mexico.
The partial government shutdown started Saturday, December 21, and it has lasted three weeks. It will soon hold the record for the longest shutdown. The shutdown of nine cabinet-level federal departments and other agencies hinges on a dispute between President Donald Trump and Democrats in Congress over whether to allocate $5.7 billion in funding for a wall on the border with Mexico.
During the shutdown, the National Park Service is not providing visitor services at the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, including public information, and all park programs have been canceled. Normally, the Park Service’s activities in Oak Ridge include events like bicycle rides and hikes with rangers, and a program on secrecy, security, and spies during World War II. Other programs have included historical films and celebrations.
The National Park Service is not monitoring or updating social media and websites during the shutdown.
In December, the National Park Service said national parks will remain as accessible as possible during the partial government shutdown while following all applicable laws and procedures.
The following locations in Hanford, Los Alamos, and Oak Ridge were to remain open to the public and continue to provide visitor services:
- Hanford: The park visitor center, operated through a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, located at 2000 Logston Boulevard in Richland.
- Los Alamos:
- The Bradbury Science Museum, operated through a DOE contract, located at 1350 Central Avenue.
- Los Alamos History Museum, operated by the Los Alamos Historical Society, located at 1050 Bathtub Row.
- Oak Ridge:
- The Childrens Museum of Oak Ridge located at 461 West Outer Drive.
- The American Museum of Science and Energy, operated through a DOE contract, located at 115 East Main Street.
The U.S. Department of Interior, which includes the National Park Service, is one of the departments that is affected by the shutdown.
Also affected by the shutdown in Oak Ridge is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration building on South Illinois Avenue. It has closed for now due to the shutdown. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, which is one of the departments affected by the shutdown.
The U.S. Department of Energy, which has major sites in Oak Ridge, is not affected by the partial government shutdown because DOE’s fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill was approved by Congress and signed by the president in September.
On Friday, the American Museum of Science and Energy, which relocated to renovated space at Main Street Oak Ridge in October, said it is not affected by the government shutdown.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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