Looming shutdown would hurt Mass. historic sitesAP , Associated Press
Sep. 30, 2013 1:26 PM ET
BOSTON (AP) — Tourists and schoolchildren wouldn't be able to step aboard the USS Constitution, visit the Bunker Hill Monument or enjoy guided walks of the Freedom Trail, just some of the prominent Boston-area historic sites that would be affected Tuesday should a partial shutdown of the federal government occur at midnight.
Officials with the National Park Service estimate that more than 100 park rangers and administrative employees in Boston alone would be furloughed without pay if Congress is unable to reach a budget deal that averts a shutdown.
Sean Hennessy, a spokesman for the National Park Service in Boston, said the disruption would come during a busy point in the tourist season.
"We have a great number of people who are visiting (Boston) who are on their way north to view the fall foliage," he said.
It is also a popular time of year for school field trips to historic locations. Schools that planned visits are being notified of the possible changes that might occur if there was a shutdown, Hennessey said.
The iconic USS Constitution, known as "Old Ironsides" and one of the city's most popular historic destinations, would be closed, as would be the Constitution museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard.
The Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, the 221-foot obelisk that commemorates a famed Revolutionary War battle, would also be closed along its accompanying museum.
The Park Service would discontinue its guided tours of the Freedom Trail, a 2½-mile path that links many important historical locations in the city, Hennessey said. The Faneuil Hall Visitor Center and the Boston Harbor Islands Visitor Pavilion would close, as would the African Meeting House on Beacon Hill, where the abolitionist movement gathered steam in the 19th century and the first black Civil War regiment had its roots.
Also affected would be Revolutionary War sites west of the city, including the Old North Bridge in Concord, where colonists turned back British troops on April 19, 1775, during the first major fighting of the war. Lou Sideris, head of planning and communication for Minuteman National Park, said the park's visitor center in Lexington would close and there would be no guided tours of the 5-mile Battle Road between Concord and Lexington.