Past is Prologue

Clint Schemmer writes about history, heritage preservation and the American Civil War.  On Facebook: Past is Prologue  On Twitter: @prologuepast  ContactEmail Clint or call 540/374-5424.

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Fredericksburg-area Park Details Sequester’s Effects

MORE: Read more news from Fredericksburg

Sunrise illuminates Sunken Road and the Innis House, a bullet-scarred survivor of 1862′s Battle of Fredericksburg, in Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. (LARRY STUART / LARRYSTUARTSTUDIO.COM)

This just came across the transom from Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park:

Effect of Sequestration on Operations at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park

Reduced Hours of Operations and Reduction in Programs

With the implementation of budget cuts mandated by Sequestration, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park announces a revised schedule of operations that reflects reduced staffing levels.  

As we move forward into spring and summer, when normally the park would be expanding hours and programming, the contrast with normal operations will become more dramatic.

The 5% reduction to the FY 13 budget comes on the heels of a 5% reduction in operating funds over the last five years.

The National Military Park will take the following steps to implement cuts mandated by Sequestration in the following order:

- Not fill any vacant permanent positions. The park currently has 11 positions vacant or about to be vacated, about 25% of its authorized workforce.

- Stop all non-essential spending (supplies, travel, training)

- Eliminate seasonal hires

Because of the number of vacant positions that the park has, furloughs will not be necessary.

Immediate Impact:

The park is dependent on a number of seasonal/temporary positions to provide basic services throughout the year.  Because of their loss the following schedule will go into effect on March 6:

- Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, open 7 days, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

- Chatham: Open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Closed Sundays.

- Chancellorsville Visitor Center.  Open Thursday – Tuesday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Closed Wednesdays.

- Jackson Shrine:  Open weekends only, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Spring & Summertime Impacts on Programs & Services:

At the summer peak, the park typically operates four buildings (Fredericksburg Visitor Center, Chancellorsville Visitor Center, Jackson Shrine, and Chatham) and two exhibit shelters at Wilderness and Spotsylvania seven days per week.  The lack of summer seasonals will cut the summer workforce in half. Under the projected budget, the following additional effects will occur:

- Exhibit shelters at Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House battlefields left unstaffed.

- School programs imited.

- Talks and tours severely cut.

- Summertime programs like History at Sunset cancelled.

- The program for the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville will be limited (details to be announced separately).

Operational Impacts:

Severe reductions in mowing and maintenance schedules park-wide. Grass will be longer, roadsides less neat. The National Cemetery will, for example, be mowed only monthly rather than every ten days.

- Reduced custodial services on a daily basis.

- Elimination of paid staff to support management of the park’s museum collection.

- Severely reduce environmental monitoring, the park’s controlled burn program, and control of invasive species.


  • Guy Cox

    Contact the Boy Scouts — I’m sure they have some Life rank Scouts looking for an Eagle project. 

  • ewcbyrd

    Perhaps that $60 million in non-military aid to Syria or the $1.2 billion in military aid to Egypt might be better used here.  Nothing like sending tax payer money to our enemies.