National parks to remain open during government shutdown; services not available

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OKLAHOMA CITY – As many families may be spending time with their families this holiday season, some may find themselves heading to national parks or monuments.

Amid a government shutdown, facilities at many national parks and thousands of federal buildings are closed.

A plan that was put in place in January of 2018 for a government shutdown says that the National Park Service will “suspend all activities” during the shutdown.

“Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to suspend all activities and secure national park facilities that operate using appropriations that are now lapsed, except for those that are essential to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. Parks must notify visitors that the NPS will cease providing visitor services, including restrooms, trash collection, facilities and road maintenance (including plowing), campground reservation and check-in/ check-out services, backcountry and other permits, and public information,” the notice read.

It goes on to say that while “parks may still be accessible to visitors, parks may not use the presence of visitors in the park to justify higher staffing numbers than approved during previous shutdowns.”

Officials say that roads, lookouts and trails will generally remain open to visitors, but the park service will not provide visitor services, restrooms, trash collection, and public information.

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