Most of the U.S.’ national parks are closed. On day 35 of the country’s longest shutdown in history, the National Park Service isn’t fully functioning. However, for people in Georgia, we have some good news: Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is open.
The Delta Air Lines Foundation has given a grant to have the park open from January 19th – February 3rd. Hopefully, by then, the government will be open again. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park is located on 35 acres in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn Historic District. The site included his childhood home, gravesite and church. On Jan. 15th would have been his 90th birthday.
The site always gathers many visitors around his birthday and the three-day weekend. Opening it allows more people to celebrate Dr. King. Walking around the 35 acres enables a person to reflect on his life. Additionally, Atlanta is bound to have heavy foot traffic the weekend of Feb. 2-3. The city hosts this year’s Super Bowl. Having the park open gives visitors another spot to explore and remember Dr. King.
Of Delta’s grant, Acting Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt said, “This is yet another example of private organizations stepping up to ensure that our visitors from across the nation and around the world are able to have a meaningful experience at national parks.”
Meanwhile, visiting parks around the rest of the country remains difficult. Even getting accurate information on which parks are available is difficult. This is a fact that the National Park Service not only doesn’t dispute but is actively telling people. A message in the header of their website reads, “During the federal government shutdown, this website will not be updated and may not reflect current conditions. Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely. Some visitor services may be available when provided by concessioners or other entities. For most parks, there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities or road maintenance. For more information, see www.doi.gov/shutdown and the park website.”