Overlooks back open at VNMP

Published 7:05 pm Monday, January 14, 2019

Louisiana Circle and Navy Circle, two popular overlooks off Washington Street offering a view of the Mississippi River, have been reopened by the National Park Service, said Bill Justice, superintendent of the Vicksburg National Military Park.

Both areas were closed because of the federal government shutdown and reopened Monday using revenue generated by recreation fees.

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Navy Circle is adjacent to the Mississippi State Welcome Center off Washington Street. Louisiana Circle is further north on Washington. Both are managed and maintained by the Vicksburg National Military Park.

According to National Park Service information, officials have determined Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act funds can be used to provide park maintenance crews to clean restrooms and remove trash, allowing it to restore and continue access to both areas.

The Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign with support from donors and the city of Vicksburg will continue to keep the park visitor center, the USS Cairo Museum and the park tour road open to visitors, Justice said. Entrance fees will not be collected.

Saturday, Warren County sheriff’s deputies began assisting park rangers with patrols in the park.

“We greatly appreciate the generous contributions of the Friends of Vicksburg National Military Park and Campaign who have provided over $44,000 during the lapse in appropriations,” Justice said. “Their efforts continue to support our ability to restore access and basic services to Vicksburg National Military Park.”

Some services limited

He said, however, some services will continue to be limited or unavailable during the shutdown, including ranger talks and programs, and the Vicksburg National Cemetery remains closed for safety reasons because of damage from a December storm.

People planning to visit the park should go to the park website at nps.gov/vick when planning their visit to get the latest information on accessibility and available services.

Justice said Confederate Avenue from Fort Hill to Old Graveyard Road remains closed to vehicles and pedestrians, adding work to repair the road is expected to begin Tuesday when the contractor begins bringing in equipment. The Federal Highways Administration, he said, is not affected by the shutdown.

Park officials in September 2017 closed Confederate Avenue from Fort Hill to Graveyard Road in the park after heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey created an 8-foot deep void beneath the road surface.

Erosion also forced park officials in February to close North Union Avenue road between Grant Avenue and the USS Cairo Museum to traffic after the shoulder near the Navy Monument collapsed. Justice said repairs to that problem are included in the contract for Confederate Avenue.

Visitors should visit the park website at while planning their visit to get the latest information on accessibility and available services.