Quantcast
Popular
Arizona lost out on $27 million of revenue during the 2013 government shutdown, with the Grand Canyon alone amounting for $17 million of it. Anna Irene / Flickr

National Parks, Monuments May Remain Open But Unstaffed if Government Shuts Down

You might want to reconsider your plans if you intend to visit a national park this weekend. While the park might be open, there probably won't be any rangers on site, which could pose a serious risk to safety.

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to keep many national parks and monuments open if the government shuts down on Friday, the Washington Post reported. The move is meant to avoid the public outrage sparked by the closure of parks and memorials during the 2013 shutdown.


According to the Post, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is working on a plan with White House and National Park Service officials to keep parks from the District to Montana open—but without rangers or other staff on site.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney reportedly proposed to keep the sites open if Congress does not pass a new spending bill and President Donald Trump signs it into law by midnight Friday. They would reopen once the government's funding resumes.

"We fully expect the government to remain open. However, in the event of a shutdown, National Parks and other public lands will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures," Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift told the Post. "Visitors who come to our nation's capital will find war memorials and open-air parks open to the public."

The department "will still allow limited access wherever possible" to national parks, refuges and other public lands, Swift added, including on roads that have been cleared of snow. "Wilderness type restrooms . . . will remain open," too.

But "services that require staffing and maintenance such as campgrounds, full service restrooms, and concessions will not be operating," she said.

Experts, however, warned that inadequately-staffed parks could pose risks to tourists and to the sites as well.

"Even if there were a law enforcement presence, the safety and integrity of park resources would be at risk, not to mention the safety of visitors and the quality of their experience, if park personnel weren't there to ensure proper management and oversight," John Garder, senior director of budget and appropriations for the National Parks Conservation Association, told the Post.

Four years ago, the federal government's 16-day shutdown shuttered the nation's parks, monuments and facilities.

Arizona, Colorado, Utah, South Dakota and New York decided to keep its treasured national sites open during the shutdown but the states had to come up with a plan and the funding to keep them open.

Government shutdowns are very costly, as the Arizona Republic noted. For instance, Arizona lost out on $27 million of revenue during the 2013 shutdown, with the Grand Canyon alone amounting for $17 million of it.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Climate
Wikimedia Commons

Strongest, Oldest Arctic Sea Ice Breaks Up for First Time on Record

The Arctic is warming at a rate twice as fast as the rest of the globe, and now the region's thickest and oldest sea ice—also known as "the last ice area"—is breaking up for the first time on record, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

The breakage has opened up waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen-solid even in the peak of summer.

Keep reading... Show less
Energy
Climate Justice Edmonton

These Giant Portraits Will Stand in the Path of Trans Mountain Pipeline

By Andrea Germanos

To put forth a "hopeful vision for the future" that includes bold climate action, a new installation project is to be erected along the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route to harnesses art's ability to be a force for social change and highlight the fossil fuel project's increased threats to indigenous rights and a safe climate.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
A worker inspects recycled plastic in a plastics factory. Getty Images

The Plastic Waste Crisis Is an Opportunity to Get Serious About Recycling

By Kate O'Neill

A global plastic waste crisis is building, with major implications for health and the environment. Under its so-called "National Sword" policy, China has sharply reduced imports of foreign scrap materials. As a result, piles of plastic waste are building up in ports and recycling facilities across the U.S.

Keep reading... Show less
Adventure
Aaron Teasdale

The One Thing Better Than Summer Skiing

By Aaron Teasdale

"There's snow up here, I promise," I assure my son Jonah, as we grunt up a south-facing mountainside in Glacier National Park in July. A mountain goat cocks its head as if to say, "What kind of crazy people hike up bare mountains in ski boots?" He's not the only one to wonder what in the name of Bode Miller we're doing up here with ski gear.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
A protester wears a pill shaped costume bearing the names of Bayer and Monsanto during a demonstration against the takeover of U.S. seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto by German chemicals firm Bayer outside the World Conference Center where the annual General meeting of chemicals giant Bayer takes place in Bonn, western Germany, on May 25. PATRIK STOLLARZ / AFP / Getty Images

The Much-Loathed Monsanto Name Is About to Die

By Dan Nosowitz

The public seems to loathe Monsanto. A recent poll ranked the company among the 20 most hated in America (nearly every other name on the list is a consumer-facing company the public deals with regularly, like health insurers, telecoms, and airlines) and entire marches are organized against them. As German corporation Bayer AG folds Monsanto into its portfolio, Bayer is making what is probably a shrewd business choice: killing the Monsanto name.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
The Seattle skyline hazy with smoke from wildfires that have impacted air quality throughout Washington state during the past week. Peter Stevens / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Wildfires Choke Washington State's Air, Delaying Flights and Trash Collection

Unhealthy levels of air pollution caused by smoke from wildfires delayed flights and trash collection in parts of Washington state Sunday and Monday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Animals
Mom and baby West Indian manatees in Three Sisters Springs, Florida. James R.D. Scott / Getty Images

Florida Manatee: 10% of Population Could Be Wiped Out This Year

2018 has not been a good year for Florida's iconic manatees. A total of 540 sea cows have died in the last eight months, surpassing last year's total of 538 deaths, according to figures posted Monday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

The figure will likely climb higher before the year's end amid the state's ongoing toxic algae crisis. The red tide in the state's southwest is the known or suspected cause of death for 97 manatees as of Aug. 12, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission recently reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Health
SOPA Images / Getty Images

Walmart Joins Ranks of Retailers Pulling Toxic Paint Strippers From Shelves – When Will EPA Follow Suit?

By Sarah Vogel

Monday, Walmart announced that it will stop selling paint strippers containing methylene chloride or N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP) in stores by February 2019—making it the first general merchandise retailer to take such action. Walmart's announcement follows the strong leadership demonstrated by Lowes, Home Depot and Sherwin Williams, all of which have committed not to sell methylene chloride- and NMP-based paint stripping products by the end of the year. Importantly, Walmart's action goes beyond its U.S. stores, including those in Mexico, Canada and Central America, as well as their online store.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!