Yellowstone visitors speak out as federal government shuts down

Yellowstone visitors speak out as federal government shuts down

Yellowstone visitors speak out as federal government shuts down

The federal government shutdown that began at midnight Friday led to partial closures at Haleakala National Park on Saturday, including the loss of sunrise viewing opportunities today.

Hikers and bikers were surprised to find the Blue Ridge Parkway closed at the Rockfish Gap entrance on Saturday.

Most national parks in Texas remain open over the weekend despite the federal government shutdown, but visitors can still expect to see consequences of Congress failure to pass a spending bill Friday night.

During a 16-day shutdown in 2013 - in the first year of President Barack Obama's second term, when Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and Democrats had a majority in the Senate - national parks and monuments were closed across the country.

The service will not provide visitor services at its visitor centers or administrative offices, park restrooms, trash collection, and facilities.

Xanterra (zan-TEHR'-uh) Parks & Resorts and other private companies that serve visitors at Yellowstone said they would groom Yellowstone's snow-packed roads for up to a week to keep them open for snowmobiles and snow coaches - small buses with tank-like tracks.

Similarly, Zinke - who oversees an agency that employs more than 70,000 people and manages 500 million acres of land, including the 59 national parks - has spoken about the important role those parks play in how Americans view the federal government.

The government shutdown means the furlough of non-essential IRS employees and could slow down tax refunds.

"I think the difference mainly would be the season, because when they closed down before, we were actually in season", says Veronica King, who owns King's Gourmet Popcorn.

Certain parts of some national parks are still accessible to the public.

About a third of the more than 400 national park sites across the country are completely closed
About a third of the more than 400 national park sites across the country are completely closed

Zinke says public lands and monuments belong to the people and not the government.

Safety is also a factor, since park rangers won't be working.

USA lawmakers struggled on Sunday to reach a breakthrough during the second day of a government shutdown. The government has shut down many times before and most of us average people are usually unaffected by it.

In light of the incident, Wenk said, park officials were holding a conference call Monday with all concession operators to remind them, "All laws, regulations and policies are still being enforced at Yellowstone National Park". She added the agency was prioritizing "access to the most accessible and most iconic areas of parks and public lands". During the 2013 shutdown - and previous shutdown threats - the District government had to prepare detailed contingency planning when they faced the threat of a shutdown.

The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are closed.

A sign was posted on the gate informing visitors that the park was not open.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, meanwhile, said it would have to furlough 95 percent of employees immediately.

"Because we are an independent entity that is funded through the sale of our products and services, and not by tax dollars, USPS will not be impacted", the U.S. Postal Service said Saturday in a statement on Twitter.

The National Park Service oversees both natural wonders and historic landmarks across the nation. "[The Department of the] Interior has a really noble mission: being the stewards of our greatest treasures", Zinke said.


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