Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Here's what parks, services are open, closed during government shutdown

Park was closed for 16 days in October 2013-the last time the federal government partially shut down Here's what parks, services are open, closed during government shutdown
Nellie Chapman | 21 January, 2018, 05:55

The federal government shutdown is impacting national parks around Florida.

CBS19 visited the Rockfish Gap entrance on Saturday, to find no park rangers manning the pay station.

"The National Park Service's mission shouldn't be held together by duct tape and bailing wire in order to lessen the public's blowback", said Kate Kelly, a former Interior Department official under Obama.

One of the most indelible images of the 2013 government shutdown was the signs posted outside major landmarks and parks announcing their closure.

In the last shutdown, about 850,000 federal employees were out of work and unpaid for 16 days.

The National Park Service is not closing the parks but some park gates are unmanned, and several areas are closed including some public restrooms, campgrounds, visitors' centers, gift shops, education centers and any other areas requiring staff assistance.

In the political brinkmanship over whether to allow federal funding to lapse, the national park sites are perhaps the most vivid illustration of what's at stake when the government closes its doors.

Nine of the 12 members of the National Park System Advisory Board suddenly quit Monday, according to. "National and regional offices and support centers will be closed and secured, except where they are needed to support excepted personnel". "Trying to run national parks without park rangers not only creates unnecessary dangers for visiting families, but puts the parks' natural, cultural and historic resources at risk". The hang-up appears to be over whether a deal for a new spending bill should also extend immigration protections for people known as "Dreamers" whose parents brought them to the a young age.

Some law enforcement employees will still be present at national parks in Utah.

The only problem is that the shutdown procedure for each park will be wildly different, which the NPS acknowledged, because each is unique and needs a certain level of care in order to operate.

The Interior Department had vowed to keep open as many parks, monuments and public lands as possible during the shutdown, which began at midnight Friday.