Fort McHenry has a two-fold function. One, it's an historical landmark that is preserved by the National Park Service. Two, its a public park that offers open space with a great waterfront location. Those of us in the downtown, Federal Hill and Locust Point areas frequent the park, many on a daily basis, for walking, running, bicycling, picnics and respite from the concrete, paved world that we live in. Use of the park as a place for exercise without the danger of being run over by a bus is essential to the health of many city dwellers, many of whom work and can't get to the park before 6 p.m. most days.
Frequent users do not routinely enter the old fort or the visitors center. A much better approach to budget constraints by the park service would be to limit the hours of the fort and visitors center and leave the grounds of the park open for public use during daylight hours.
The locking of the gate of the fort and walking away from the citizens it serves is a poor solution to the park service's dealing with the sequester. It points to an overall management problem that is likely at the root of its budgetary problems.
Gary Moyer, BaltimoreCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun