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October 2, 2013

Which local historical sites are closed due to gov't shutdown

— If you had plans to visit one of the national memorials in the area, you’re going to find yourself out of luck.

With a partial federal government shutdown Tuesday, all activities at parks and national monuments have been halted and the sites are closed indefinitely.

Jeff Reinbold, the National Park Service superintendent in western Pennsylvania, said the five sites in the region – the Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield in Fayette County, Friendship Hill National Historic Site in Fayette County, Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site in Blair and Cambria counties and  Johnstown Flood National Memorial – are closed.

“Early October is some of our heaviest times for visitation,” he said.

Reinbold said they typically see between 7,000 to 8,000 people visit the Flight 93 National Memorial during the first two weekends in October.

In addition, there are 19 bus groups scheduled for later in the week to stop at the Shanksville site.

“We’re looking to have a quick resolution to this so we can get back to the sites and open the doors to visitors,” he said.

The Johnstown Flood Museum is not affected because it is a nonprofit organization.

Army Corps of Engineers-operated parks, including Raystown Lake, will also remain open, Chris Augsburger, a Corps spokesman, said in a press release Tuesday.

The last government shutdown to close the National Park System was in December 1995.

Mary Bevan, spokeswoman for Concurrent Technologies Corp. in Richland Township, said at this time the impact of the shutdown has been minimal and they are doing everything they can to lessen any burden on individual employees.

“We have reached out to government contracting officers and our actions are directly tied to the guidance that we receive from them,” she said. “Unless directed by a contracting officer to cease work, work on contracts for which funding is available will continue.”

During the shutdown, military personnel will be paid. The U.S. Postal Service will continue to operate and Social Security checks will be sent.

Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.

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