What a Government Shutdown Would Mean for Climbers

Date: 4/8/2011

Like most Americans, you’ve surely heard about the looming threat of a government shutdown, which could take place tomorrow. But what does it mean for climbers?

Well, all 394 National Parks across the country would close at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning. Parks that have actual hours just won't reopen. At parks where people camp, gates will be closed, and recreational users will not be permitted to enter. Those people who are already in the park will be given 24 hours to leave. Large parks that contain public roads will be passable, but all gates and visitor centers will be locked and closed. Most park employees will not report to work. Law enforcement will remain to protect parks and the public.

Accordingly, every climber will be required to leave Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Shenandoah, Acadia, Grand Teton, Devils Tower, Arches, Canyonlands, Black Canyon, New River Gorge, Zion, Mount Rainier, North Cascades, City of Rocks, etc. However Rocky Mountain National Park may be an exception – see here. For a full list of National Parks, visit the NPS webiste. Sadly, local economies will lose out on approximately $32 million a day, as the National Park Service has approximately 805,000 visitors per day in April.

Also, National Forest System recreation sites and ranger stations across the U.S. that require a Forest Service employee to stay open will close. Some Forest Service law enforcement officers will still be working. Recreation areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management will also technically be closed, although most of these areas require no entrance fees or don’t have much law enforcement. Those BLM locations that have an entrance gate, like Red Rocks, will close.

A good summary of the implications of a government shutdown can be found here.