Despite local funding, National Park Service closes Claude Moore - New York News

Despite local funding, National Park Service closes Claude Moore Colonial Farm

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McLEAN, Va. -

Despite the fact that a local group has promised to pay for 100 percent of the operating costs, the National Park Service has closed down Claude Moore Colonial Farm.

Operators were stunned when barricades went up on Tuesday. No visitors are allowed onto the grounds.

As much as possible, it is the late 1700s at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm in Fairfax County, Va. Tobacco is still grown here, and it is dried in a small tobacco barn, just the way it was dried 200 years ago.

Even the animals here are generally "rare and heritage breeds." The pigs, for example, are smaller than modern pork. They were captured on an island off the Georgia coast, descendants of a shipwreck in the 1600s.

This history-oriented farm used to be federally-operated, but because of budget cuts in the early 1980s, a local non-profit group in recent years has paid for 80 percent of the operating costs.

"We even snowplow the roads, which [are] theirs," explained Anna Eberly, the managing director of the non-profit that runs the farm. But we still [plow] in order to get it done."

As of October 1st, the Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm agreed to take over 100 percent of the costs of the facility. So the operators were astonished when the National Park Service erected barricades and closed off access to visitors.

300 school kids were supposed to be here Wednesday. That field trip has been canceled.

A spokeswoman for the Park Service says it is still federal land, and the rule is: if there's no Congressional appropriation, no visitors are allowed. So, even though the non-profit is now paying for everything, the Claude Moore Farm remains closed.

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