As the nation enters the holiday weekend under a federal government shutdown, many of its most popular national parks and attractions will either be closed or partially closed.
The National Park Service (NPS) warned that its website—usually filled with up-to-date information—“will not be updated and may not reflect current conditions.”
The Service’s Twitter account has also not been updated in five days. Its last tweet said it would not monitor or update social media during the shutdown.
“Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors,” the NPS website said. “However, access may change without notice.”
Some parks were completely closed. Those that remain open will have no NPS-provided services such as restrooms, trash collection and road maintenance. Many states and local non-profit organizations have stepped in to provide the services that the NPS cannot.
The state of Arizona, for instance, has provided funding for trash collection, custodial services for restrooms and snow removal on trails and sidewalks at the Grand Canyon. Any lodging, restaurants, grocery stores, and other services provided by non-government entities remain open. Park roads, lookouts and trails are open. NPS-operated campgrounds are open but there will be no check-in/check-out and reservation services.
The state of Utah is underwriting the costs of staffing visitor centers and maintaining custodial services at Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks. The Utah Office of Tourism is updating information on the parks and increasing its customer service on its website, Visitutah.com. Employees will be on hand to answer questions from visitors via live chat. All of Utah’s 14 ski resorts, including those operating on US Forest Service lands will remain open with no disruptions due to the shutdown.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is partially open. The local non-profit Great Smoky Mountains Association has agreed to fund the Sugarlands, Oconaluftee and Cades Cove visitor center operations and restroom through Tuesday, Jan. 1.
Many Washington, D.C.-area national parks, including the National Mall, are open but emergency and rescue services are limited. No NPS-visitor facilities such as restrooms, visitor centers, information kiosks, and educational programs are available.
Several non-government organizations are paying for trash collection, though there is no guarantee it will happen as frequently as usual. Concession company Guest Services, Inc., has provided portable restrooms at various National Mall locations such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin.
A government shutdown could have an impact on everything from your passport application to your trip to a national park.
The National Gallery of Art will be closed as usual on Jan. 1 but will re-open Jan. 2. The gallery’s status after Jan. 2 has yet to be determined.
Other D.C.-area parks and attractions are closed. They include the Clara Barton National Historic Site, Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, Fort Washington Park, and the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site.
Destination D.C., the city’s tourism board is updating the status of attractions on its social media channels with #DCisOpen and at Washington.org/dcisopen.
New York State is paying to keep the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open.
In California, Joshua Tree National Park, including its campgrounds and vault toilets, remains open. Yosemite National Park is also open.
In South Florida, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Big Cypress National Preserve are open but NPS-run facilities such as visitor centers are closed.
The best way to find out which national parks, monuments and other recreational areas are open is to go to the National Park Service’s index at Nps.gov/findapark/index.htm and visit the pages of the individual parks.
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