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‘Park Day’ scheduled for VNMP

Volunteers are expected to descend on the Vicksburg National Military Park April 7 to participate in a nationwide cleanup day sponsored by the Civil War Trust.

The program, called “Park Day,” is in its 22nd year, Civil War Trust spokesman Clint Schemmer said.

“It started in 1996, as part of a project called the Civil War Discovery Trail,” he said, “The idea was to get people out there and make them aware of more Civil War-related sites as they traveled around.”

The program, he said, started small with about 80 to 100 sites. It now includes 162 sites in 32 states and Washington, D.C.

Scott Babinowich, interpretive director for the Vicksburg National Military Park, said the park has participated in the program for the past few years.

This year, he said, the program will have a new focus.

“In the last couple of years, we’ve focused a lot on painting cannon carriages (and) weeding the Shirley House,” he said.

“For this project day, what we’re focusing on is the USS Cairo and the National Cemetery. We have a couple of projects lined up.

“One is sending a crew under the Cairo to help clean up everything that falls down and all the leaves.

“We’ll have another crew cleaning off the Cairo, cleaning off the dust that falls on the cannons and the iron; just sprucing it up for the busy season.”

Another project includes having a crew working in the National Cemetery.

“We’ll have a crew in the cemetery starting to work on some of the headstone cleaning and others working on replacing some of the boards on the picnic tables at the USS Cairo.”

He said other projects are in the works, but the work at the Cairo and in the cemetery are ready to go.

In previous years, Babinowich said, the park has averaged 50 to 75 people volunteering their time to improve the park.

“We’re hoping for that, if not more, this year, because we have a lot of work to get going here,” he said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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