Elliott Curzon, the farm’s director, said the Park Service sought onerous reporting requirements, including approval of special events and items sold in the farm’s shop.
Without an agreement, the farm, located off Georgetown Pike, will close later this year.
Curzon said his group isn’t sure why the Park Service wants to shutter the farm, which has a $400,000 annual budget. “It’s a mystery to us,” he said. “It’s the only national park in the country that doesn’t cost them a dime to run, yet they want to close it.”
From 2007: “At Moore Farm, A Glimpse of 18th-Century Life”
Park Service spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said in a statement that the farm will close Dec. 21 because it wouldn’t sign a proposed agreement with the agency.
“Although we negotiated in good faith, in the end, the standard terms and legal requirements of a long-term agreement were not accepted by Friends of Claude Moore Colonial Farm,” the statement said.
Anzelmo-Sarles said the farm has received $1.3 million in Park Service funding since 2001, in addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a sewer system. She said the agency “has absolutely no interest or plans to sell the park or pursue any kind of commercial development on the property.”
The farm is “a living history museum that portrays family life on a small, low-income farm just before the Revolutionary War,” according to its website. The 77-acre site has hosted more than 2 million visitors since it opened in 1973 and has six staffers, market fairs and educational programming.
Curzon said the farm has raised $15 million privately since 2001 to maintain operations.Although legislation was introduced by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) in March to maintain the farm, he said it could be too late to keep it open.
“We took a park that was essentially a dump and turned it into an award-winning history museum with little help,” he said. “They have no interest in running it, no resources to run it and want to shut us down because we don’t want to be burdened with bureaucracy from them.”