Saratoga National Historical Park, site of one of history’s most important battles, has reopened now that a temporary truce has been reached in Washington in the federal budget fight.
The park also known as the Saratoga Battlefield opened Thursday, hours after President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan measure passed by Congress to end the partial government shutdown, spokeswoman Gina Johnson said.
Saratoga was where the Americans defeated the British in 1777 in what many historians consider the turning point of the Revolutionary War. Thursday marks the 236th anniversary of the British surrender.
“We are 100 percent open for business,” Johnson said. “Everything is back to normal, thank goodness.”
She said tours are resuming and maintenance workers are catching up on jobs put on hold at the park, located along the Hudson River in Stillwater, north of Albany.
A handful of people were in the visitor center and a couple of dozen cars were in the parking lot as people took advantage of a sunny fall day to hike and bicycle on the park’s trails.
“I love this area. I could not believe the government could shut down a park,” said 51-year-old Matthew Meczywor, who recently returned from Florida to live near his hometown not far from the battlefield. “You can’t shut down history. You can’t.”
He took advantage of the park’s reopening to purchase a year-round pass on Thursday.
The shutdown cut into attendance and revenue during the normally busy fall foliage season. And, Saturday night’s popular candlelight tour held each year at the Schuyler House, another Revolutionary War-era national park site in nearby Schuylerville, will have to be cancelled because there wasn’t enough time to prepare for the event, she said.