KING OF PRUSSIA, PA – The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board (VFTCB) and The Encampment Store are supporting and funding to keep Valley Forge National Historical Park’s Visitor Center open during the federal government shutdown.
The VFTCB and The Encampment Store plan to continue that support through January 31st, weather depending, should the current government shutdown persist.
Due to the lapse in federal appropriations, the National Park Service is unable to operate the properties under its management, including Valley Forge Park. The 3,500-acre park’s roads, trails, grounds, and parking areas remain open to the public.
While most park buildings are closed, the VFTCB and The Encampment Store’s support and private funds are keeping Valley Forge Park’s Visitor Center open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The temporary Visitor Center is a 5,760-square-foot facility within the park that opened in December so that construction could begin on the $12 million renovation to the current visitor center facility, which was built in 1976.
“We’re proud to work with The Encampment Store to keep Valley Forge Park’s Visitor Center open, and we’re going to do everything in our power to keep that going as long as we need to, but for now, we’re taking it one step at a time,” said Mike Bowman, President & CEO of the VFTCB. “Hundreds of visitors are still coming through, especially on the weekends. With MLK day coming up, and schools being closed, families will be looking for things to do. Luckily, they can still bike, hike, walk, run, and even bring their dog to the park. We know people – both nationally and internationally – are passionate about this iconic park, and so are we. It’s one of the region’s most visited destinations, and has a significant impact on the area.”
In 2017, the park attracted 2.2 million visitors and contributed $46.5 million in economic output and 426 jobs to the local economy.
During renovations, The Encampment Store, the VFTCB & the NPS are co-managing the new visitor center’s retail bookstore, regional travel information desk, and park information desk that serve more than 250,000 visitors each year.
The renovations are scheduled to be completed in late spring of 2020 and will provide for new windows, new finishes including flooring, carpets and signage, energy efficiency improvements, updated collections storage, expanded physical accessibility, modern fire protection and security systems as well as a new HVAC system. Learn more about the new temporary visitor center at go.nps.gov/vafovc.