Monocacy Battlefield Closed

The gates to the visitors center at Monocacy National Battlefield have been closed and locked since the start of the partial government shutdown.

Nine federal agencies are unfunded due to a partial government shutdown, but it doesn’t take traveling to Washington, D.C., to reach shuttered services.

The shutdown began at midnight Dec. 22 and has continued for 13 days with lawmakers unable to reach an agreement on how much — if any — money should be allocated to build a wall along the southern border.

The Department of the Interior, under which the National Park Service operates, currently does not have funding. All national parks — including Catoctin Mountain Park, Monocacy National Battlefield and the C&O Canal in Frederick County — are closed, although visitors may still be able to access the grounds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also unfunded. Employees at the Frederick County Farm Service Agency are on furlough, Executive Director Missy Donnelly said in an automated voice message on the agency’s phone. Farm Service staff may not access email or voice mail until after funding has been restored.

However, another arm of the USDA — the Natural Resources Conservation Service — is open and operational, said Frederick County District Conservationist Brent Cammauf.

While the agency is waiting for a budget, it has been able to continue working on contracts. Employees are overseeing ongoing construction of livestock feeding and manure storage structures at 20 farms — of its 120 active contracts — in Frederick County, he said.

Its office is down the hall from the Farm Service Agency, and employees have seen the shutdown hurt some local farmers, who are up against sign-up deadlines for critical programs, Cammauf said. His team has collected some basic information from farmers for the Farm Service Agency for when it reopens.

In 2013, the Natural Resources Conservation Service was furloughed during a federal shutdown. The office has since been deemed essential and its workers are being paid, Cammauf said.

“NRCS has continued business as usual,” Cammauf said.

The Department of Homeland Security also does not have an approved budget, which has kept the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from processing reimbursement applications, said Vivian Laxton, spokeswoman for the Office of the County Executive. This includes requests due to May flooding and other weather-related disasters in Frederick County.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is also unfunded, but it will not prevent any projects in Maryland from continuing, Maryland Department of Transportation spokeswoman Brandi Bottalico said by email on Thursday.

Wallet Hub estimates that Maryland is the third most harmed state by the federal government shutdown.

For its ranking, the company weighed each of the 50 states and District of Columbia’s:

  • Share of federal jobs.
  • Federal contract dollars per capita.
  • Percentage of families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).
  • Real estate as a percentage of gross state product.
  • Access to national parks.

Maryland, D.C. and Hawaii have the highest share of federal jobs as a percent of total employment, and Maryland, D.C. and Virginia receive the highest federal contract dollars per capita, according to Wallet Hub, which used publicly available data.

Unlike past shutdowns when funding for the Department of Defense was tangled in partisan politics, federal labs and the Fort Detrick garrison are operational and funded.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) — a medical testing laboratory — is funded. All of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) federal projects are also funded, because a budget for the National Institutes of Health passed Congress in the fall.

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) has enough money through its contract with the Department of Homeland Security and will remain operational unless the shutdown lasts multiple months, said spokesman Brian Gaudet.

The Social Security Administration is also “fully funded” through Sept. 30, said spokeswoman Vivian Nichols.

Frederick County has two Social Security Administration offices, including one in Frederick and another in Urbana. The office in Frederick is a general services office and the location in Urbana is a data center that maintains, “the demographic, wage and benefit information of almost every American,” The News-Post reported in 2014.

The partial government shutdown will not affect any offices in any way, and the administration will remain “fully operational” through Sept. 30, Nichols said.

Staff writers Steve Bohnel and Heather Mongilio contributed to this column.

Follow Samantha Hogan on Twitter: @SAHogan.

Samantha Hogan is the state house, environment, agriculture and energy reporter for The Frederick News-Post.

(30) comments


Did "The Caravan" arrive? I know they're firing tear gas at the border these days, but I'm unsure, if and when the Caravan of invaders arrived. Anyone got any pictures they could give me a link too? I know there were 5000+ American troops sent there in November to protect us from the hoard. Are they still there? I expected to see some major involvement of the troops with the invaders...but I haven't seen anything on any of the networks. So confusing. Can anyone help with an update? Thanks!


I'm proud that he has stood up for what he campaigned on. The voters elected him and the wall/barrier/obstacle/etc... was the key to his campaign. He passed one budget holding his nose and with this one, he's saying 'no'. Good for him. I don't think he's one to blink in a negotiation. Pelosi and Shumer haven't deal with anyone like him before. No more secret backroom deals. And if the existing RINO Republicans don't agree with him, then put it down in a vote. Don't just talk about it on Sunday morning TV. Then the electorate can see how they stood up for what their constituents wanted.


He campaigned on having Mexico pay for it, remember, rcfoster? I guess the folks that voted for him realized he was simply blowing bs bluster when he said this.


FYI wheelone, when I voted for Trump, I knew that Mexico wasn't going to go for paying for a wall. Why would they? They don't give a crap how many illegals cross from there to here, and they benefit from all the money their people that get here send back there. I voted for Trump because he wants to do something about the illegal problem here, and also because a Clinton victory would have been a disaster for the country.


You knew he was lying 🤥 when he said Mexico would pay for the wall? Was he lying about “ wanting to do something about the illegals here”? Doesn’t he hire illegals at his resorts? You do know he’s under investigation for forging documents for illegals at his golf resorts? Would you mind giving the headsup to me and others on this thread when he’s telling the truth? Or should I take in for granted that he always lying 🤥?


Hey aw, I never said that Trump doesn't lie. In case you didn't know and, apparently you don't, the two main requirements to being a politician is 1) be reasonably wealthy and 2) be a liar. Don't have to be a good one, just have to be able to when you want to. Obama and both Clintons are living proof of that, did you constantly condemn them for their well known lies? Did you? I dare ya, Google "Obama's lies" and let me know what you come up with, OK?

Comment deleted.

Does all the times he neglected to put in that disclaimer count?, “that Mexico wouldn’t walk up with a check ?” I can send some of the rallies and interviews he neglected he neglected to say that. They’re all on YouTube.

You’ve been listening to more of Trump tales and you believe him. 😂 Right? right? I knew it.
I know first hand, If you are referring to Barrack Obama there’s no wall around his house in DC. Go check it out. And I’m pretty sure the town house that Chuck Schumer lives in DC, with two other senators doesn’t have a wall around it. 😆 but Nancy, might. Here husband is real, real, real, real rich! Legitimately not like Trump.


You conveniently left out the part where Trump said Mexico will pay for the wall. That was also KEY to his campaign - remember? Now he wants to saddle the US taxpayers with $5 billion (for an 11th century solution to a 21st century problem)?!? No thanks.


that's an inconvenient truth for them.


Quoting CDReid: "And you two, naively, think that every political candidate keeps every campaign promise that he makes. Hahahahahahahahahahahaha. Tell you what, Google "Obama's broken campaign promises" and let me know what you come up with, fools."


This is supposed to bolster your support for Trump?

Whataboutism doesn't earn you any points. Trump was elected because he wasn't a politician, he was someone different - someone that voters wanted who was not part of the establishment. Trump was elected because he was (supposedly) a man of his word. Now that he goes back on his word, the argument becomes "Oh, ALL politicians lie".

Like I said, you're not really helping your argument nor Trump with such an odd comment. But, thanks for the laugh.


"Whataboutism," Jleftwich? "Trump was elected because he wasn't a politician?" So, with your argument, you're saying that only a politician running for office can legitimately lie when running for office, huh?


Yeah CD has a pizzare way of thinking. The idea that a businessman is better then a politician is total BS. I want somebody that understands how the political system works. Making a ridiculous generalization that all politicians are liars is like making the ridiculous generalization that all businessman tell the truth. There are honest businessman and Crooks like Trump.


The voters did hot elect him, the Electoral College elected him. He does not represent the majority of the people. He represents a lot of dirt and farmers.   But even that would not have happened if he had not conspired with the Russians to destroy our democracy.  We do not have a legally elected POTUS and if things go the way they look like they are going he will not be there much longer. Proud of treason? You should be ashamed of yourself!


President Trump told Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer that he would be PROUD to shut down the government over funding for a border wall. I have to wonder if the Republicans who voted for Trump are PROUD to have a President who shut down the government over his wall that he originally said Mexico was going to pay for. We now have a House of Representatives that is willing to do the right thing and get these federal services back up and running, but the Republican leadership in the Senate will not even allow a vote to help out our farmers and all of the citizens who are now out of work or working without pay. Shame on Republicans, and shame on President Trump.


I am, I hope he keeps it shut down.


You may get what you want, rbtd5. If his party does not stop him, say goodbye to the GOP as we know it.


I don't care about the republicans or democrats. Both parties have sold out regular Americans. Those congress critters that stand with Trump on this will be the ultimate winners. I'm glad we now have a president with a spine.


jagman; just two weeks ago he said he would be proud to own the shutdown. Shortly after that he said he would sign a budget without the wall. He flip flopped on both. How is that "having a spine"?


Shiftless: It's called negotiation.


Sound more like incompetent.

He needs to just say the “Wall”was a metaphor. He never meant a “beautiful 2,000 mile concrete wall running from the Atlantic to the Pacific, that Mexico would pay for”. And the millions we paid for the prototype walls were just a sham for his followers to get off on.

He should just say he always meant beefing up border security through technology. I’m surprise so many people took him literally. Aren’t you?

You know Trump just said after Mattis resigned, he knows more than all the generals, “ another metaphor”, or just words? Right? You don’t believe him. Right?🤔 right? Jagman, rdtdt5, right?
CdReid, already said he doesn’t believe what he’s saying. He just voted for him be because he shares his prejudice views of people coming from south of the border. CD is at least honest or maybe smarter then the average trump supporter.

Let’s move on.


Wheelman Donald Trump doesn't have no spine he's a coward. I called him Donnie bone spur or a good reason. He had a doctor paid off by his father if you give a false diagnosis to get out of the draft. Cynicism is a cop out.


Quoting rbtdt5: "I am, I hope he keeps it shut down".

You say that without realizing the ignorance of your statement. Once this shutdown starts impacting things like social security, or critical infrastructure repairs, or the price of food because farmers cannot get funding for critical programs, then you will change your tune.

Funny, trash is piling up at national parks because of the shutdown. We want Mexicans to respect our laws and not come here illegally, yet legal citizens cannot even respect our own national treasures.


J - well said. and exactly correct.


what kind of argument is that? it's all or nothing? my way or no way? dems are willing to put up money for border security. why no compromise? and you blame dems for a shut down? hopefully pence et al enjoy their recent salary increase. it's hard work ruining a republic!


Quoting CDReid: "Yeah Jleftwich, and once the shutdown starts impacting things like social security, or critical infrastructure repairs, or the price of food because farmers cannot get funding for critical programs, the Democraps will come to their [limited] senses and work with the president."

This is Trump's shutdown. He took ownership of it.


How’s that impacting? Social security checks are still going out and so are government annuity checks. I’ve gotten mine. The only thing it’ll affect is income tax checks. And yes trash is piling up in CLOSED national parks because like you say people aren’t respecting the law and keeping out. And what does Mexico have to do with it? 80% of the illegal immigrants are coming from Central American countries like Honduras and El Salvador.


user1: Please note I stated "ONCE this shutdown starts impacting social security". The SSA is funded through September. Trump said he is fine is the shutdown goes on for a year(s). Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, that means more and more agencies close up shop as funding dries up.

You ask what does Mexico have to do with it? Fill in what ever nationality you want. We demand foreign immigrants respect our laws when our own citizens cannot respect laws (i.e., the closed parks).


the feds not receiving a paycheck and becoming very worried about how to meet financial obligations appreciate your support. you're all heart.


the sarcasm is noted. hopefully no one you know is impacted. if they are, perhaps you can lend them the money to pay the mortgage, utilities, car? government work - you mean the type that keeps the behemoth moving and keeps people from complaining too much about not receiving a check? again, you are all heart. what a guy.


Sam, in case you didn’t know:

“Over the last two years, Congress has provided nearly $1.7 billion to build or replace fencing on the southern border, but the Administration has hardly spent any of that money, and the projects it has undertaken have ballooned in cost. So far, only six percent of those funds have been spent.”

I’m not lying 🤥.

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