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Weir Farm National Historic Site Braces For Government Shutdown

Weir Farm National Historic Park may be closing its facilities as part of the impending government shutdown.
Weir Farm National Historic Park may be closing its facilities as part of the impending government shutdown. Photo Credit: File
Renovation work at the main house at Weir Farm National Historic Park would be stopped if there is a government shutdown.
Renovation work at the main house at Weir Farm National Historic Park would be stopped if there is a government shutdown. Photo Credit: File
Students get a close up look at the newly restored historic Young Studio at Weir Farm National Historic Park.
Students get a close up look at the newly restored historic Young Studio at Weir Farm National Historic Park. Photo Credit: Aubrey Nolan, Weir Farm

WILTON/RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- If the federal government shuts down as threatened, Weir Farm National Historic Site on the Ridgefield and Wilton border would be one of the local attractions to close.

National Park sites fall under the control of the Department of the Interior and would be shut down Tuesday as nonessential government functions. That would mean that everything at Weir Farm would be closed to the public, including its 60-acre grounds.

"The buildings, the facilities, all the programs and the grounds would be closed," park Superintendent Linda Cook said Monday. "All 11 staff members would be on furlough as well."

The staff plans to head to work Tuesday if a shutdown were to happen to close down the park, she said.

"We would come in Tuesday to update the phones with appropriate messages about the closure," Cook said. "We would take care of the computers, buildings, everything, to secure the site."

One person would be designated to keep the park site secure, she said.

The closure would cause the cancellation of ranger-led tours as well as any special visits planned by school groups, scouts or senior centers, she said. The "Impressions of Spring" exhibit in Visitor Center featuring the artwork of Impressionist Dmitri Wright of Greenwich would be closed as well.

The park, which includes the Weir House, Weir and Young Studios, barns, gardens, and Weir Pond, would be off-limits even to hikers if the shutdown were to occur.

"The National Park Service has a contingency plan," Cook said of the preparations in place. "Internally, the park has a plan of its own."

The government shutdown would also cause the closure of big National Parks out West such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. Locally, it would also shut down the Statue of Liberty, Hamilton Grange and Federal Hall in New York City; the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park, N.Y.; Fire Island National Seashore and Gateway National Recreation Area in New York; and Boston National Historic Park and Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts, among the 401 parks set to close. For information on national parks, visit www.nps.gov .