National Parks close due to government shutdown

The US government will be out of money at midnight on Friday unless Congress approves a 2018 budget or a short-term funding resolutionMore

If lawmakers failed to pass a federal budget in time, services across the national park system requiring park staffing were expected to be closed. McClintock indicates that contingency plans for businesses in the park are now being worked out by National Park Service officials.

Bringman says the information desk, which is typically staffed by National Park Rangers, was closed because many of them are on furlough.

Park service personnel will not be around to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response, officials said, so all park activities are at the visitor's own risk.

Ginger Lee, visiting the park from Palm Beach County, Florida with her husband and daughter, anxious before coming that Yellowstone might be closed.

Affects of the government shutdown are already being felt in our area. Guided snowmobile and snowcoach trips with commercial operators will be allowed, however, non-commercially guided snowmobile trips will not be allowed during the shutdown. Restrooms at and/or near concession facilities will remain open. He remembers the deluge of media articles about parks being closed, the local economic suffering, the angry tourists, the weddings that had to be relocated. However, park grounds, roads, trails and parking areas are still open as the park gates will open and close at their normal times.

Visitors in campgrounds will not be asked to leave, but no services will be available, including check-in/check-out services.

And Kate Kelly, public lands director at the Center for American Progress and an Interior official during the Obama administration, accused Zinke of "using the national parks as pawns in some political game".

Access is not restricted on U.S. Forest Service land, but services will be unavailable.

The plan to keep the parks open is different from how the Obama administration handled a 16-day government shutdown in October 2013. Visitors are encouraged to contact those individual businesses for the most current information on their scheduled tour.

Other attractions that are closed include the Eisenhower National Historic Site buildings and National Park Ranger Programs.

"So in the event of a government shutdown, (the Veterans Health Administration) would continue full operations".

"As a country we can do better, so I hope that we can get the government up an running again and that folks can get back to work as soon as possible", said Jake Cohen, visitor.

In New Mexico, parts of Bandelier National Monument's cliff dwellings and fragile archaeological sites were off-limits to protect them from damage, but the entrance road and some trails were open.

In western and northwest Wyoming, visitors can ski and snowboard at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee, Snow King and White Pine Ski Area.



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