Ad Spot

Park officials constantly evaluating risks to public in remaining open

If he were Secretary of the Interior, Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said he would close the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Flaggs’ comment came during Sunday’s press conference on the city and county’s ongoing response to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. He was asked numerous times about the people who continue to gather at the park throughout the day and evening for recreational purposes.

Because the park is operated by the federal government, Flaggs said he has no control over its operations.

Park Superintendent Bill Justice declined to comment on Flaggs’ statement.

Justice said the park uses a risk assessment matrix to determine what areas might pose a potential threat to people, and it was used in the decision to close the visitor center and Cairo museum and restrooms to the public.

“We are constantly re-evaluating that,” he said of the matrix.

While park officials are not in a strong position to enforce the Centers for Disease Control guidelines, “We have done our best to underscore that people follow the guidelines from the CDC.

“We stringently ask people to follow the guidelines to keep the 6-foot interval and keep groups to 10 people. Even though you are outside, there is the risk.”

A message from the National Park Service on the park’s website says the service is modifying its operations on a park by park basis according to the latest CDC guidelines.

It tells potential visitors to check with park officials for any change in operations and urges visitors to follow the guidelines.

The park, which is Vicksburg’s and Mississippi’s biggest tourist attraction, commemorates the Siege of Vicksburg and covers 16 miles in the city and county.

Presently, some areas of the park, including the National Cemetery, are closed to visitors because erosion problems have affected roads in those areas.

People visiting the park either book a guided tour or do self-guided tours.

Justice said the guided tours and other events in the park have been canceled.

He said park rangers have developed educational programs on history for school children that are streamed over Facebook to help children and parents.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John

Crime

Teen sought in shooting incident

Local

Plans for sales tax referendum put on hold

Crime

Suspect in shooting captured on Facebook Live captured

BREAKING NEWS

Additional vaccine allocated to Mississippi

Downtown Vicksburg

Legislation would allow city to create vacant building guidelines in Vicksburg

COVID-19

City to extend mask mandate, COVID-19 orders

Local

RCEC’s Lawson: I love seeing and being the change our youth need

COVID-19

U.S. surgeon general acknowledges Black skepticism of vaccines

BREAKING NEWS

Suspect robs Vicksburg convenience store at gunpoint

Downtown Vicksburg

Space is limited for the upcoming River Kids Free After-School Art Program

Local

Mayfield and Monsour qualify for re-election; Mayfield’s son to challenge Monsour

Local

Sheriff recommends new county jail be a one-story facility

Crime

Crime reports: Vicksburg men face felony drug charges

Faith

Churches preparing to address Ash Wednesday service during pandemic

Local

Southerland seeks permanent youth court prosecutor

Local

Organizers change annual MLK scholarship breakfast to a virtual event

COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccine shortage derails plans to establish distribution site in county

Business

Unemployment claims jump to 965,000 as virus takes toll

Crime

Mississippi’s most wanted: Multiple suspects in custody after list goes public

Local

Mississippi Lottery leader: Don’t fall victim to scams

COVID-19

No more appointments: State’s vaccine supply fully committed

Local

McConnell open to convicting Trump in impeachment trial

Local

Legislature again mulling teacher pay increases

Local

AOI’s Adcock brings a bit of levity to her English lessons