Government shutdown? No worries for Mississippi’s most popular tourist attraction as group commits to keep park open

Published 8:05 pm Saturday, September 30, 2023

Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign, the official non-profit partner organization of VNMP, has committed to fund operations to keep the Vicksburg National Military Park (VNMP) open in the event of a government shutdown, through the help of generous donors and partners.

The tour road, the Visitor Center, the U.S.S. Cairo Gunboat and restrooms will be kept open in the event of a government shutdown. Minimal staff to operate those sites and protect VNMP including essential interpretive rangers, maintenance staff and law enforcement rangers will facilitate the operations to ensure the shutdown has as little impact on the visitor experience as possible.

Government funding, which pays to operate the Vicksburg National Military Park, expires on Saturday, Sept. 30, at midnight.

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“Vicksburg National Military Park represents such an important chapter of America’s story. We never want even one visitor to be turned away from our Park,” said Bess Averett, Executive Director of Friends of VNMP and Campaign. “We are fortunate to have staff at VNMP who share our passion for this historic place and its story and have worked to make the opportunity available to keep VNMP open in the event of a shutdown.”

VNMP is the most-visited tourist attraction in Mississippi. Close to half a million visitors a year travel from all over the nation and world to visit VNMP and are vital to the local and regional economy. The latest Economic Impact Study released from the National Park Service estimated that 2022 visitation to Vicksburg National Military Park resulted in $27.1 million in visitor spending in the region.

“Vicksburg National Military Park will remain open. As the official Friends Group for the Park, we work together all year on important projects and events for VNMP. We can think of no higher priority project we can take on than keeping the gates and museums open and sharing this amazing treasure with the public,” Averett said. “We are grateful for our donors and supporters that help us keep VNMP open and protected through the uncertainty of government shutdowns.”

For more information, one can contact Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign at 601-831-6896 or visit