Big Bend National Park visitor's center closed during government shutdown

Peter Castro
January 22, 2018

Locally, Point Park and the visitor centers at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park will be closed because they require staffing. The park will provide limited emergency services.

"During the government shutdown, the park is going to remain as open and accessible as policy and law allow", spokeswoman Dana Soehn said.

Bringman says they had a steady day selling almost 800 tickets, but could have sold more if other parts of the park would have been open. Visitors centers will be closed and rangers will not be on the job. Guided snowmobile and snowcoach trips with commercial operators will be allowed, however, non-commercially guided snowmobile trips will not be allowed during the shutdown.

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.

Mulvaney said that the parks would remain open, but "things like trash won't get picked up". "For example, this means that roads that have already been open will remain open (think snow removal) and vault toilets (wilderness type restrooms) will remain open".

Examples of areas being prioritized: The federal government is prioritizing access to the most accessible and most iconic areas of parks and public lands.

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An interactive map on the National Park Service website shows most of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia is closed. However, park grounds, roads, trails and parking areas are still open as the park gates will open and close at their normal times.

Visitors holding campground reservations should be aware that there is no guarantee their reserved campsite will be ready and available should they arrive during a government shutdown.

During the last government shutdown in 2013, Utah used it's own money to keep the big five open in an effort not to disrupt traveler's vacations. "We will not have the ability to issue permits for future campground use". Visitors are encouraged to contact those individual businesses for the most current information on their scheduled tour. We emphasized scientific research and mitigation of climate change; engaging young generations; evolving a more diverse culture of park visitors, advocates and employees; bringing our schools to our parks and our parks to our schools; stressing park urbanization; protecting the natural diversity of wildlife; and so much more.

Other attractions that are closed include the Eisenhower National Historic Site buildings and National Park Ranger Programs. Pit-style bathrooms (typically in the back country) will remain 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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