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Federal shutdown forces closure of Homestead National Monument

December 28, 2018

The prairie surrounding Homestead National Monument of America is quiet this week after the ongoing federal shutdown forced the park to close its facilities.

The National Park Service site west of Beatrice is closed as a result of the ongoing partial federal government shutdown.

Homestead Park Superintendent Mark Engler said on Wednesday that Homestead’s outdoor trails and parking lots are still accessible, but the buildings are closed.

“During the shutdown National Parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following applicable procedures,” Engler said. “With us, specifically, the parking lots will remain open and the trails will remain open. If there’s a snow event or anything like that we will not be maintaining those things, except for emergency situations.”

Wednesday was the first full business day of the shutdown prompted by a budgetary stalemate between President Donald Trump and Congress.

Trump said Tuesday that the closed parts of the government will remain that way until Democrats agree to wall off the U.S.-Mexico border to deter criminal elements. He said he’s open to calling the wall something else as long as he ends up with an actual wall.Democrats oppose spending money on a wall, preferring instead to pump the dollars into fencing, technology and other means of controlling access to the border. Trump argued that Democrats oppose a wall only because he is for one.

The stalemate over how much to spend and how to spend it caused the partial government shutdown that began Saturday following a lapse in funding for departments and agencies that make up about 25 percent of the government. Some 800,000 government workers are affected. Many are on the job but must wait until after the shutdown to be paid again.

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