Upside to federal shutdown

Zinke Pushes Two-Thirds Of Nationwide Park Service Advisory Panel To Resign

The frequently visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park is feeling the effect of government shutdown.

And at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, staff are at work beginning the shutdown process, said Susanne McDonald, the park's superintendent, but visitors may still attend the park during business hours.

National Parks and other federal public land will primarily remain open even if the government shuts down tonight, according to Department of Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift.

National parks will remain open during the government shutdown.

But a spokesperson for the Department of the Interior told reporters, "services that require staffing and maintenance such as campgrounds, full service restrooms, and concessions will not be operating". "National and regional offices and support centers will be closed and secured, except where they are needed to support excepted personnel".

State parks would be unaffected by a government shutdown. Guided snowmobile and snowcoach trips with commercial operators will be allowed, however, non-commercially guided snowmobile trips will not be allowed during the shutdown. As for Alcatraz, visitors can expect to find it open but there will be no ranger-led tours taking place or behind the scenes nighttime tours. The park will attempt to maintain the road to Longmire, but access to Paradise will not be available, Swartout said.

"Access may change without notice, and there are no park-provided services", she said in an email. The park's website said winter lectures, winter reading adventures, the battlefield book series and Jared Frederick's book signing were canceled.

Roads: Roads which are normally open at this time of year will remain open, including Hwy 41, Hwy 140, Hwy 120 to the Big Oak Flat Junction and the Big Oak Flat Road. "If visitors see something that jeopardizes visitor safety or park resources, call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3301". Sleigh riders many park at the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, two blocks north of the Home Ranch Center, and walk to a temporary sleigh ride ticket sales location.

Concessioners and Commercial Use Authorization holders may continue to provide visitor services after coordination with the park to ensure compliance with government shutdown protocols.

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. Visitors are encouraged to check the roads hotline (209/372-0200, press 1 then 1) for current conditions.

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

"It's very, very disorganized, maybe because we've been at the brink of the cliff so many times", Cox said.

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