Federal Government shutdown impacts Wyoming sites

Calvin Saunders
January 22, 2018

In response to the lapse in federal appropriations, Grand Teton National Park is implementing its plan for a government shutdown. "We as a National Parks Service will still provide emergency medical services, such as search and rescue", he said.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Sunday he has made a decision to keep many national parks open during the government shutdown because the tourist spots should not "be weaponized".

Some areas are still open including boat launches, airboat rides, gator exhibits, boat and tram tours, bicycle rentals, and fishing, birding and other guide services.

If the Republican-controlled Congress proves unable to fund the government by midnight Friday, visitors to US parks, monuments and memorials could face bare-bones operations - open access without those welcoming uniformed professionals. In that period, national parks were closed to the public.

Government employees do not get paid during the shutdown whether they are furloughed or continue working.

Some federal lands remained open, like Pinecrest Reservoir in Tuolumne County, which experts surmised was due to differing objectives among federal land-management agencies as well as a practical inability to enforce the closure.

Varela says in this scenario there would be no rangers, camping wouldn't be possible and paying fees would be on a 'trust system.' Visitors would still be able to drive though parks and do some hiking.

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Fossil Butte National Monument: Facilities will be closed; visitor access to trails remains open. Some Yosemite areas are accessible, however access may change without notice, and there will be limited NPS-provided services.

An interactive map on the National Park Service website shows most of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia is closed.

"Because of the government shutdown, that had to be closed today, so the information could not be provided by the rangers", he added.

According to a Yellowstone press release, government-run facilities (e.g. visitor centers, restroom facilities) have been shuttered. "If visitors see something that jeopardizes visitor safety or park resources, call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3301". Visitors at the park were ordered to leave by 3 p.m. October 3.

On the surface, keeping public lands open is a good thing-and the Trump administration is hoping few Americans will examine the decision at a deeper level. Visitor activities in Dubois and Lander include guided snowmobiling, the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center and Sinks Canyon State Park. "We had a great day planned", said Dan O'Meara, a California firefighter who wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

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.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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