Government shutdown shutters some public lands


Fort Laramie National Historic Site: All fenced facilities will be closed.

According to a Yellowstone press release, government-run facilities (e.g. visitor centers, restroom facilities) have been shuttered.

Emergency Services: Visitors will be able to dial 911 for emergency services however response time may be increased. A shutdown means all "non-essential" government workers get furloughed and the rest go without pay until Congress can pass a funding bill.

Jon Jarvis, the former director of the National Park Service, dubbed it "incredibly idiotic".

Zinke dismissed the concerns, and said police officers will be present at all public parks.

Outside the park, both Yellowstone's NPS website and social media have been suspended.

The Post Office will remain open despite a shutdown. Board meetings are required to be held twice yearly, but the NPSAB last met in November 2016, during the waning months of the Obama Administration.

Harris said she was offered a federal loan for disaster relief but declined because she didn't want to put herself in debt to the government "over something they caused".

Theresa Pierno, president of the National Parks Conservation Association, said it is only a matter of time before the parks suffer from the limited staffing.

Across the park system, officials said war memorials and open-air parks should remain open in the event of a shutdown, but some sites and trails may experience restricted access. All park regulations, including those regarding oversnow travel, still apply.

MILITARY: The Defense Department says a shutdown would not affect the USA military's war in Afghanistan or its operations against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria.

Cabin permits will not be issued during the closure, officials said. Zinke says public lands and monuments belong to the people and not the government.

Keeping the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open was projected to cost the state about $65,000 for each day of the government shutdown.

HEALTHCARE: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will continue to process applications for open enrollment, and the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled is expected to continue functioning largely without disruption, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Government services considered nonessential were similarly shut down in October 2013, though park leaders took a different approach then: They closed everything as quickly as they could.

As the head of the park service during the 2013 shutdown, Jarvis recalls facing a lot of the criticism. Open roads will remain accessible and back country toilets will also remain open.

Yellowstone is not the only national park to have experienced illegal activities since Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke directed his deputies to make public lands as accessible as possible during the partial shutdown.