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Park reopens access to restrooms, African American Monument, USS Cairo

The Vicksburg National Military Park has reopened access to the outdoor area of the USS Cairo, the African American Monument and the restrooms at the Cairo and the Visitor Center, park officials said.

Access was reopened May 1. The restrooms, the Cairo and its museum and the Visitor Center were closed in March 2020 out of concern for COVID-19. Officials said the Cairo Museum and the Visitor Center presently remain closed.

Park officials said plans to re-open the Visitor Center are tentatively set for later in May in collaboration with the National Park Services’ non-profit partners, America’s National Parks and the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign. The park has hired five seasonal park rangers and three interns who will join the park in May to support a continued increase in visitor services for the public.  

Access to the African American Monument had been closed from the storm damage of early 2020. The park has reopened the section of Grant Avenue from Union Avenue to the African American Monument for all vehicles.

Cars will be able to turn around at the Monument and follow Grant Avenue back to Union Avenue and then turn onto Graveyard Road to continue on the tour road. Buses and RVs will need to continue on Grant Avenue and exit onto Sherman Avenue, where they will be able to turn around and re-enter the park to follow Grant Avenue back to Union Avenue and then turn onto Graveyard Road to continue on the tour.

North Union Avenue and Grant Circle remain closed to vehicles and pedestrians. 

Park officials said COVID-19 protocols will be followed and face masks will be required in all park buildings and outside on National Park Service-managed lands when physical distance cannot be maintained.  

Visitors should follow CDC guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and for the health and safety of others, people are urged to choose another time to visit the park if they are not feeling well. 

Officials said the National Park Service is working with federal, state and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

For current information on the status of reopening and park closures, readers can go to the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/vick/planyourvisit/conditions. 

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.

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