GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Park rangers will soon be back on the battlefields as Gettysburg National Military Park starts its phased reopening Friday.
Now that Adams County is entering the yellow phase of reopening, licensed battlefield guides and tour groups will be allowed to operate, as long as everyone maintains social distance and groups have less than 25 people.
The Gettysburg Battlefield has been open for people to roam, but it’s been missing its most enthusiastic guides.
“We’re history nerds first of all, and secondly, we like talking to people,” said Les Fowler, president of the Association of Licensed Battlefield guides. “It’s what we do for a living. And not being able to has kind of been a strain on all of us.”
Fowler says they’re planning for guides and vistors to drive seperately.
“Either do a point-to-point tour where we all move to a specific spot, get out of our cars, put our masks on, stay six feet apart and talk about things there, and we’ve also looked at the capability of doing Bluetooth tours,” Fowler said.
Park Public Information Officer Jason Martz says they’re working on a phased reopening plan, which currently means landscaping and preservation crews are back to work.
“Park rangers are also going to be out roving the battlefield in some of the higher visited spots of the battlefield to provide some informal interpretation and directions and to help guide visitors around the battlefield,” Martz said.
All buildings, including the Museum and Visitor Center, Eisenhower National Historic Site buildings, Wills House, observation towers, and the Pennsylvania Memorial observation level will remain closed.
Public bathrooms will also be closed, but there are 10 portable toilets available throughout the battlefield.
“No matter if they’re local, if they’re from out of state, where ever they may be coming from, we just ask that they maintain safe distances, wear a mask if they’re going to be in close proximity to others, but always maintain a safe distance throughout their visit,” Martz said.
With the visitor’s center still closed, reservations will go directly through the licensed battlefield guides. Click here for more information.