Grand Portage National Monument Altering Schedule To Cope With Budget Cuts

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Grand Portage National Monument. NPS photo.

A slight shift in operational hours at Grand Portage National Monument in Minnesota will occur late this spring due to budget cuts mandated by Congress and the White House.

The national monument staff will temporarily open the historic Lake Superior fur trade depot at Grand Portage for Memorial Day weekend, May 25th-27th. The historic depot will be closed again from May 28th-31st. During this time (May 28th -31st) the heritage center will remain open from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. daily.

The monument's historic depot will open for the summer season on June 1. This amended schedule marks a change from past years.

"We have received a reduction of approximately $67,000 to our operating budget as a result of the sequestration of federal budgets," said Superintendent Tim Cochrane. "We are making adjustments in our operations, including amending our opening dates, to meet the requirements of sequestration and be able to accommodate visitors travelling over the Memorial Day weekend. As always, we are looking forward to another busy, rewarding, and productive year."

Beginning June 1, the monument's heritage center will be open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until mid-October. While at the heritage center, visitors can view the monument's new interpretive film, Rendezvous With History: A Grand Portage Story, and additional video "Shorts," and examine more than 2,000 square feet of exhibits that highlight Ojibwe culture and the history of the North West Company.

The historic depot area will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through mid-October as well. In the Great Hall, visitors can "window shop" via a new exhibit entitled, "From Furs to Fashion." This exhibit is a London streetscape complete with storefronts that welcome "shoppers" interested in the luxurious hats and furs, as well as powder puffs, fancy perfumes, and even fishing lures made for European shoppers from pelts and parts of mammals traded to the North West Company in the 1790s.

The historic fur trade depot with its Great Hall and Kitchen, and the Canoe Warehouse will be open to the public along with our outdoor exhibits in the Ojibwe Village and Voyageurs' Encampment. Here visitors step back more than 200 years in time to get a glimpse of life during the fur trade.

A variety of ranger programs are offered including talks, demonstrations, "Try It On" fur trade era clothing, historic gardening, and birch bark canoe building. Visitors can walk the grounds and see how a fur press works, learn and play traditional games in the Ojibwe Village, get a glimpse of a voyageur's life at the reconstructed voyageur encampment, and walk in the footsteps of the Ojibwe and NWCo voyageurs on the 8-and-1/2-mile Grand Portage. Also available for hiking is the Mt. Rose Trail.

This is the 14th year in which the Grand Portage Band of Minnesota Chippewa will be providing maintenance services and select projects to the monument under a first-of-its-kind partnership between the Band and the National Park Service. More than 110 projects have been completed through this Tribal Self Governance Act agreement.

In addition to preparing the site for the 2013 season, the Band's maintenance crew will improve accessibility to park walking paths. Other projects involve preservation work on the Great Hall, Kitchen, and Canoe Warehouse, rehabilitating the palisade pickets, and constructing a new hiking trail that will increase hiking opportunities on Mt. Rose. This work also includes the construction of a picnic area adjacent the Heritage Center Parking Lot.