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Businesses Near National Parks, Museums See Little Slowdown Despite Shutdown

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PEA RIDGE (KFSM) — We are now in day 13 of the partial government shutdown, meaning national museums and parks in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are closed until things are resolved in Washington.

Pea Ridge National Military Park is one of the National Parks closed during the government shutdown. Inside the visitor’s center there’s a theater, a bookstore and a museum, but people are not able to visit them because of the shutdown.

Since the park is closed, fewer people are visiting Pea Ridge and the surrounding towns. Vanessa Williams works near the National Park and says even though the park is closed, she hasn’t seen much of a change in business.

“Not really, this time of year is always pretty slow winter out here,” she said. “We’re in the country, so we haven’t really noticed much of a difference.”

It’s also a similar situation at the Fort Smith National Historic Site.

“With this holiday break, it’s kind of hard to gauge what impact it’s having here,” said Claude Legris, executive director with the nearby Fort Smith Advertising and Promotion Commission. “We’re obviously hoping that our number 1 tourist attraction right now in Fort Smith, the National Historic Site, will be back open again as absolutely as soon as possible.”

Williams says that she thinks if the shutdown would have happened in the summer months, there would be more of an impact because there are typically more visitors that time of year.

For a full list of national parks and museums closed in our area, click here.

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