Despite Shutdown, Utah's National Parks Remain Open

Posted January 22, 2018

That said, the shutdown would affect only parts of the park that require staffing, such as full-service restrooms and concessions that have some federal employees.

"We fully expect the government to remain open, however in the event of a shutdown, national parks will remain as accessible as possible", a spokesman for the National Parks Service said.

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.

Trump administration budget chief Mick Mulvaney said national parks would remain open even if the congressional stalemate continues past midnight Friday - the deadline for when government funding officially runs out. In that period, national parks were closed to the public. Access to all residences will be maintained, while concessioners and commercial-use authorization holders may continue to provide visitor series after coordination with the park to ensure compliance with government shutdown protocols. Guided snowmobile and snowcoach trips with commercial operators will be allowed, however, non-commercially guided snowmobile trips will not be allowed during the shutdown.

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The Refuge Road will remain open as a travel corridor and access road to private lands.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said the Trump administration is trying to minimize the effects of the shutdown by keeping parks open, but he accused former President Barack Obama of doing the opposite.

Many trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other outdoor activities remain open.

We are prioritizing access to the most accessible and most iconic areas of parks and public lands. Perhaps fearing yet another public relations black eye if social media were flooded with photos of forlorn kids locked out of scenic vistas, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has instituted a vague plan to keep access to some lands, but without park rangers to supervise them.

What Happens During a Government Shutdown?
It's not a good weekend to plan that road trip for a wintertime twirl on the ice under Half Dome in Yosemite National Park . Homestead National Monument Superintendent Mark Engler said the National Parks Service is not expecting a shutdown.

Shenandoah National Park was closed during a federal government shutdown in October 2013 during its peak season, which lasted two weeks.

"Parks will be open this time, and they weren't before", Mulvaney said. "If visitors see something that jeopardizes visitor safety or park resources, call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3301". Visitors are encouraged to check the roads hotline (209/372-0200, press 1 then 1) for current conditions.

"As a country we can do better, so I hope that we can get the government up an running again and that folks can get back to work as soon as possible", said Jake Cohen, visitor.

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Devils Tower National Monument, Fossil Butte National Monument, and Fort Laramie National Historic site are all closed and access is limited in some cases.

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In western and northwest Wyoming, visitors can ski and snowboard at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Grand Targhee, Snow King and White Pine Ski Area.