SHARPSBURG, Md. (AP) — Amir Asghari of Columbia, Md., was excited to bring his friends from Canada to tour Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg this past Wednesday.
Then Asghari read the sign on the locked door of the battlefield’s visitor center, stating it was closed due to a lapse in federal funding. His excitement quickly turned to frustration. The group became more upset when they realized the bathrooms also were closed.
“It’s absolutely not good at all,” Asghari said. “We were hoping to watch the movie and have somebody give us a tour of the whole thing.”
Wednesday was the first full business day of the partial government shutdown that has closed down some agencies and departments. The government shut down at midnight on Friday, due to a budgetary stalemate between President Donald Trump and Congress.
Trump said on Tuesday that the government will remained closed until Democrats agree to fund a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump wants Congress to approve $5 billion to build his wall, but Democrats have refused.
As a result, the National Park Service will remain closed until further notice.
At Antietam, a notice was posted at the entrance warning visitors that due to “lack of appropriations,” the park service will not be staffed.
“Park visitors are advised to use extreme caution if choosing to enter a (National Park Service) property, as NPS personnel will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response,” the sign states. “Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk.
“The NPS will not operate parks during the shutdown period, and no visitor services will be provided.”
Since visitors still can walk the grounds of Antietam, where more than 23,000 men were killed, wounded or missing on Sept. 17, 1862, Asghari and his group headed off to tour the area on their own.