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Government shutdown impacts Gettysburg

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A KKK-planned rally scheduled for this weekend at the Gettysburg National Military Park is canceled, one of the many impacts of the federal government shutdown on Adams County.

By Tuesday morning, barriers had been put in place at several access points to the park. Some of the main thoroughfares remain open, such as Baltimore Pike.

Tours are still happening but with limited access to the park. Though you can drive through portions of it, you can’t stop your car and walk the grounds. If you click this link, you’ll see what tours are still available.

“We wanted to convince our visitors who had plans to come here this week, keep your plans in place. There’s still plenty to do in this town,” said Carl Whitehill, spokesman for the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. “As soon as we heard that this possibly could happen, we started putting plans in place. What are we telling our visitors? What are we telling our businesses in case it would (happen)? So, I wouldn’t say we were surprised, because we were planning for this. But, we all certainly were hoping it wouldn’t come down to this.”

The Gettysburg Foundation, a private non-profit group, runs the battlefield’s museum and visitor center. That site remains open while the battlefield itself is closed.

“Fall is a really important time of year in Gettysburg. As many people know, coming up in November, on November 19th, that’s going to be the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address,” said Brooke Diaz, the foundation’s marketing project manager.

People from across the country continued to visit battlefield Tuesday, even though their experiences were limited by the shutdown.

“For us, this was the trip of a lifetime,” said Don Shively, who traveled from California. His group started the day in Washington, D.C., where many monuments and tourist attractions were also closed because of the shutdown.

“Now, if they’re closed for three or more days, it’s going to pretty much ruin our trip,” said Shively.

Traci Adams was in Gettysburg Tuesday ahead of an event this weekend aimed at honoring fallen firefighters. The event is supposed to happen at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where there’s a memorial. The memorial sits on federal property, which has been closed because of the shutdown.

Adams said the group that runs the event is in the process of putting together an alternate plan for the event, but she thinks people who’ve already suffered a loss need to see the memorial as part of the healing process.

“All that needs to be seen. That is part of the healing journey. They need to get there. They need to see the memorial, the eternal flame. They need to see their loved one.”

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