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Statement from NPS tourism program manager

January 19, 2018

This update was provided by Donald Leadbetter, U.S. National Park Service tourism program manager, regarding the potential government shutdown. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

Dear colleague,

While we fully expect the government to remain open, in the event of a shutdown national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures. For example, roads already open will remain open, and vault toilets/wilderness type restrooms will remain open. However, services that require staffing and maintenance such as campgrounds and full service restrooms will not be operating. Monuments and memorials in Washington DC will remain open.

Examples of services that could be open include free-standing gift shops, lodges, restaurants, or gas stations that require no assistance from park staff to operate. Assistance could include but is not limited to snow removal, unlocking gates, or other operational functions. However, if a private concessioner has arranged in advance to remove snow, trash, etc. without the assistance of park staff, they may continue operations.

Examples of services that would not be open include visitor centers, gift shops located inside visitor centers, and gas stations located on roads inside parks that are impassable due to snow accumulation, if snow removal relies on park staff.

Examples of areas that may see restricted access include some public lands, trails, and sites that are typically monitored and patrolled by staff for purposes of visitor safety and resource protection. For example, park staff may restrict access to ski or snowshoe areas if there is an avalanche risk. Additionally, sensitive cultural areas on all public lands may have restricted access to protect artifacts and objects.

We are prioritizing access to the most iconic and typically accessible areas of parks and public lands. Each park will have different plans in place. To learn more about a specific park’s plans, please check the park’s webpages at NPS.gov as well as their social media feeds. You may contact a park directly as well. Contact information is available on park webpages.

If I receive any additional information or guidance, I will pass it along.

Thank you,
Donald Leadbetter, Tourism Program Manager
U.S. National Park Service

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