UPDATED: Govt Shutdown Closes National Parks, Forest Service Trailheads, and Weed Watchers Program
Due to the government shutdown, 401 National Parks and ALL US Forest Service Trailheads have been forced to close indefinitely. Essential services will continue without a budget, but access to federal public lands is now closed at hundreds of locations including Yosemite, Death Valley, and Rocky Mountain National Parks.
Some public lands and trails that do not require staff may remain open for the duration of the shutdown, though without rangers or amenities. Bathrooms will be locked and water has been shut off in many scenic areas and campgrounds. Trailheads and trails in National Forests are not closed, but hikers could encounter gates. Trailhead facilities like toilets and garbage will not be serviced. We have been asked not to sell Northwest Forest Passes. But as a precaution, continue to hang your Northwest Forest Pass at trailheads. You probably don't need it, but Law Enforcement Officers will still be working, and many of the trailheads are patrolled by county sheriffs.
Typically in October, more than 750,000 daily visitors from around the world visit national parks. The loss of these visitors may cost local communities as much as $30 million per day.
For more information on what this means for local area hikers, please follow the updates from our friends at the Washington Trails Association on their blog.
Contact your Senators and US House Representatives here today.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2
An email went out to all Weed Watchers volunteers this morning at the request of the United States Forest Service. It said:
Hello Weed Watchers,
Unfortunately, even volunteer programs like Wilderness Weed Watchers are affected by the current government shutdown. We have received notice from our partners at the Forest Service that because our volunteers operate under a Forest Service agreement, we should not be working on the Forest, as our agreement would not be valid during the furlough/shutdown.
Please respect the requests of our partners and refrain from any last minute weed surveys until the furlough is lifted (hopefully soon!). In the meantime, its not too late to file your trip reports from this season’s hikes – weeds or no weeds, we need your data: http://sgiz.mobi/s3/weedwatchers
And love your pictures: http://wildweedwatchers.wordpress.com/
Thanks and let’s hope our friends at the Forest Service can go back to doing their good work in short order.