How Pearl Harbor Historic Sites stay open during government shutdown

Local News

It appears the partial government shutdown won’t end anytime soon. The House and Senate adjourned Thursday after meeting briefly and they plan to reconvene on Monday.

The shutdown began on Saturday because lawmakers couldn’t pass a spending bill that President Trump will also approve. He wants money for a border wall.

The partial shutdown has not affected the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites just yet. We learned Thursday that all the historic sites will be able to stay open until January 6th, thanks to Hawaii Tourism Authority. However, since the beginning of the shutdown, four non-profit groups that operate the sites have been able to keep them running by funding their operations. 

Government shutdowns usually mean national parks have to close. It’s a different story when it comes to the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.  

“We are not a hiking park, we are a memorial. Because of that, we really believe that the park needs to stay open,” said President of Pacific Historic Parks Aileen Utterdyke. 

PHP runs the bookstore and has been financially supporting the historic monument for decades. 

“We have a lot of visitors that come to Hawaii every year, planning in advance and spend a lot of money. For some of these people it’s a one time opportunity,” said Utterdyke. 

Since the shutdown, PHP, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Battleship Missouri Memorial, and Pearl
Harbor Aviation Museum have spent a little more than $100-thousand to keep all sites running. The effort is much appreciated. 

“I have an uncle that passed away here. He was on one of the ships,” said a visitor from Las Vegas. “I would definitely put it on my list of donating to keep it open so people can appreciate it for the years to come because not many people appreciate the wars and our freedom.”

“I feel it’s great. It shows that the American people when the government is inoperable that there are organizations that do care for the veterans,” said a visitor from Florida. 

The nonprofit groups were able to cover operations through Friday, but there were concerns about funding as the shutdown drags on. So PHP reached out to different agencies for help.

Hawaii Tourism Authority stepped in, providing about $126-thousand to PHP to keep the historic sites open through January 6th. In a statement, HTA President Chris Tatum says:

“This is a national monument to those who lost their lives and their families, and to the residents and visitors of Hawaii who pay homage every day to the legacy of what this memorial represents.”

“I think it sends a very strong message,” said Utterdyke, “it’s important to the state, it’s important to the people, and it’s important to our visitors.”

Since we don’t know when the shutdown will end, the nonprofits continue to ask people and groups for help. If you would like to make a donation, click here. 
 

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