Can government shut down access to public lands?

Until Congress passes an appropriations bill, a government shutdown is a possibility. If funding to federal agencies expires, outdoor enthusiasts could find access to public lands, like National Parks and National Forests, cut off.

Trailspace contacted communications and other staff at the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, National Park Service, and U.S. Department of Agriculture to get more details about what could happen.

Though none of the 17 federal employees Trailspace contacted agreed to be quoted by name, several spoke generally about what might happen. Across the board, they agreed that, in the case of a shutdown, the following actions are likely:

  • All “developed facilities” like parking lots, bathrooms, offices, and visitors centers would be closed. Anything with a lock would be locked and anything with a gate would be gated.
  • Permits wouldn't be issued, so permit-only areas would be off-limits.
  • Rangers, law enforcement, and visitor services staff would be furloughed.

But what about areas that can't be locked or gated? Would hikers be breaking the law by entering them? Employees at every agency said, unofficially, that they were awaiting guidance on the details.

No Certainties

Agencies emphasized that no one is completely sure what will happen.

A National Park Service spokesperson said that agencies are developing “shutdown plans” that detail all the specifics, but that they weren't ready yet. Nor were representatives allowed to speak on the record about the plans.

"In the unlikely event that there is one, we have plans to deal with it," said one land management spokesperson. "This is a fluid situation and we cannot speculate on specifics."

What is certain is that, without funding, only essential functions would continue.

Exactly what those essential functions are is not public information, but the 21-day shutdown in 1996, during which National Parks closed, suggests that providing the majority of visitor services on public lands are not considered “essential functions.”

Former USDA official Richard Rortvedt described essential functions as “safety and security responsibilities, like those fulfilled by the FBI, ATF, Secret Service, Homeland Security, FAA, embassy staff, etc.”

Since there aren’t any certainties, all agencies emphasized that in the event of a shutdown, outdoor enthusiasts should contact local forests, parks, or public lands offices, and obey locally posted signs and notices.

What Could Happen?

Trailspace asked representatives of the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, and National Park Service what might happen to access to public lands. Here are the details by agency:

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 245 million acres of public lands, mostly in the West, and also manages many National Monuments, National Conservation Areas, National Scenic and Historic Trails, Wild and Scenic Rivers, campgrounds, and other facilities.

A BLM representative in Washington, D.C. said, “Technically, the public lands would be closed. This means offices, visitor centers, and places with locks and gates would be closed and locked. Permits, where required, would not be issued. Special recreation use permits would not be issued.”

245 million acres is a lot to lock down though, and the BLM would likely focus their small staff on the most developed and heavily visited areas, including boat launches and visitors centers.

Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service manages more than 193 million acres of public forests and grasslands, including such popular forests as the George Washington, White Mountain, and Tahoe National Forests. 

According to a Forest Service representative in the agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters, access would "depend on the availability to staff the forest. There may be some closures based on staffing. There are many unknowns on how this process may proceed for public lands." 

A regional Forest Service staff person who experienced the 1996 shutdown advised that forests aren't actually closed, they just aren't staffed. Visitors could technically visit a National Forest, but there would be no services except for those deemed essential.

In 1996, this meant that there was one person in each office, phones weren’t answered, forest health research stopped, law enforcement rangers were unavailable, and permits for access and campfires were not issued.

National Park Service

The National Park Service (NPS) manages more than 400 National Parks on approximately 84 million acres of land. The NPS spokesperson Trailspace contacted emphasized that it was hard to make definitive statements, but drew some general conclusions:

  • The agency plans for cases like a shutdown: “Since the 1980s agencies have been required to have a plan in case of a government shutdown. We would be looking at planning for providing safety and maintenance in those plans.”
  • Previous shutdowns offer some hints: "In 1995 and 1996, for example, the National Monuments here in D.C., the grounds themselves remained open, but the monuments were closed. The George Washington Parkway was open, too. The Lincoln Memorial in D.C. doesn't have gates, but in the '95-'96 shutdowns there were security personnel there to remind folks that the area was closed and they weren't permitted to enter.”
  • Parks will have the most up-to-date information: "Visitors should obey any posted signage and contact their local park. If a government shutdown does occur and you're planning on visiting a park, contact the park to determine what is open and what isn't"

Another NPS representative in D.C. speculated about what hikers might find, and urged caution:

"If you are relying on park or forest rangers for permits, interpretive services, guidance, etc., they will be off-duty, so you'll be on your own. In short, the consequences of an accident or hazard could be much more severe during a shutdown, even if you make it onto federal lands. During a shutdown, I would urge folks to hike and travel elsewhere for their own safety.”

He went on to advise outdoor enthusiasts to explore state parks, regional parks, and state game lands in case of a government shutdown. With approximately 3,675 state parks in America, there is a lot to choose from.

Filed under: People & Organizations, Places

Comments

gonzan
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March 8, 2011 at 8:45 a.m. (EST)

And we see the passing of those glorious sentiments, "This Land is your Land, This Land is My Land"

whomeworry
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March 8, 2011 at 9:50 a.m. (EST)

Perhaps we should direct our ire to the culprits - the state and federal governments that cause such advents - than to wax poetically on the idea of free access to public lands.  Our highways are in the public trust for the most part too, yet one's the to drive them can be revoked or right of ways condemned if one doesn't pay sufficient registration and license fee needed to maintain their integrity.

In any case we can't have it both ways.  There are loads of postings to this forum lamenting the poor condition we encounter in the backcountry, largely the result of public misuse, but also sometimes the result of overuse.  Funding mitigates these consequences.  So imagine then the mess that would accumulate when the hired staff is not there to maintain and clean up after those responsible for the mess.  Volunteerism may perform a lot of the housekeeping needed, but alone it does not keep parity with abuse and overuse. I'd rather reschedule my vacation for when the parks get reopened, than aggravate the funding issue certain to result when the mess and damages pile up due to a lapse in maintenance.

Ultimately the folks who will feel this the most are the populations local whose economies depend on park visits to put food on the table.  They are the ones who are most affected, sacrificed like cannon fodder for what appears to be a class struggle of economics.

Ed

gonzan
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March 8, 2011 at 11:22 a.m. (EST)

Ed,

you are correct about the larger picture and issues involved.

 I was certainly a bit glib in my comment above, and do not think the situation is simple or simply answered. My jibe was prompted as by the seeming glibness  of the "Well, we will just close 'em all" response.

Unless such closures were threatening to be long term you won't find me advocating a challenge to prohibited access. 

DrReaper
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March 8, 2011 at 2:59 p.m. (EST)

The government only manages the land. They do not own it. I just don't understand everyone's dependency on government when they can't do anything right. The economic debt system has always been doomed to hyperinflation from it's inception.

I for one will pack out my trash, and near the end of my trip other peoples also. Because I don't damage the environment I don't expect to be blocked from visiting it. Especially for a charge that is an assumption. 

The funding problems are of their own creation. If they are going to use the treasury as their own personal piggy bank don't expect me from visiting a park you can no longer fund!

 

GaryPalmer
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March 8, 2011 at 4:21 p.m. (EST)

And there's no way to stop people from hiking and going outdoors, most places don't have rangers and if the budget cuts come there could be more places without supervision.

trouthunter
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March 8, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. (EST)

Politics aside, and not to make light of the very serious federal and state deficits, the closing of Parks and such will have no initial impact on my ability to access the back country. I generally go to wilderness areas, or National Forests because there is less traffic, less rules, and so forth.

I drive in, use the trails, and go home. No registrations, permits, fees, or anything else required, although there are ranger district offices. I do volunteer at least once a year to pick up trash or help with trail maintenance.

Okay...every once in a while I use the pit toilet, or charge my batteries at a campground power pole that isn't being used.

Regardless of my own practices, it is important to keep the State & National Park areas staffed, and the Ranger offices open to serve the public.

Even though I am a fiscal conservative, I think that shutting down the government is little more than political posturing. I guess that is how the political game is played, but wouldn't it would be nice if the guys & gals in DC would quite playing games long enough to do some real work though? That is what they get payed for...right?

Oh...and by 'fiscal conservative' I only mean I believe in running a tight ship, not being a cold hearted Scrooge.

XterroBrando
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March 8, 2011 at 8:56 p.m. (EST)

I will go where I will go...

DrReaper
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March 8, 2011 at 9:48 p.m. (EST)

Let the states run the parks on the money the parks generate. The simple fix is always the best fix.

 

 

 

mikemorrow
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March 9, 2011 at 10:12 a.m. (EST)

This could get very political.

I have not filed a tax return for some eight years now. Yes I would get money back but I choose to let my government keep it. I wish there was a box on the tax forms that would allow me to direct how to spend the money I give them. But I digress....

I too go where there are no gates to keep me out. But this would effect car campers. And out here on the Oregon coast it will kill vacationers travel. But with gas prices climbing we might have a bad year anyway.

The good, less people, peace, less garbage to pick-up. :)

GaryPalmer
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March 9, 2011 at 10:19 a.m. (EST)

Thats the way it used to be, each parks revenue ran what the park could do. Then the govenment started allotting money to the park, based on size. So then some like the Grand Canyon started asking for money to hike and camp, raised entrance fees, raised rim camprground fees, charged more and more to eat and stay in the hotels on the rim, charged more for the mule rides,etc.  Entrances fee's are about $20 per car, rim camping the same, mules rides about $250 perperson per day,hiking fee's $10 per trip,$5 a day to stay over night, dining room prices are expensive. The Grand Canyon gets about 5 million visitors year, 75% stay on the rim,15% do the mule rides, 10% hike/camp. 40% stay in RVs, 40% stay in the Hotels, and 20% camp on the rims in tents.

mikemorrow
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March 9, 2011 at 10:40 a.m. (EST)

Last I knew Wisconsin State parks keep most of the money they bring in. Camping in those parks can be costly. $15 just to drive though, and $20 a night to camp. But on the upside, they are very nice and clean. Lets face it, it cost alot of money (wether state, national, or privatly funded) to maintain these lands. As we lower our taxes we get less for our money. But I still dont think that a park owned by McDs would be as good as one funded with taxes.

whomeworry
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March 9, 2011 at 12:58 p.m. (EST)

 ..I was certainly a bit glib in my comment above, and do not think the situation is simple or simply answered...

Caleb:

I was trying to post a general preemptive remark; it was not specifically aimed at your reply.  I fully anticipate this thread to digress into another partisan debate, as it often does when budgets are the topic.  I hoped to circumvent this advent, as it is akin to complaining about the noise the beast makes, without addressing the damage it causes.

I will say the glib nature was unusual, as you are typically more earnest in than most of us with your content. 

..but wouldn't it would be nice if the guys & gals in DC would quite (sic) playing games long enough to do some real work though? That is what they get payed for...right?...

Mike:

Amen to this and every other thought in your post.

Ed

GaryPalmer
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March 9, 2011 at 1:01 p.m. (EST)

Make Mine Freedom 1948 Cartoon

http://www.angelfire.com/ak2/intelligencerreport/cartoon1948.html

BigRed
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March 9, 2011 at 6:25 p.m. (EST)

Hope they'll be able to keep George Washington National Park open!

denis daly
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March 9, 2011 at 7:07 p.m. (EST)

I think I have to agree with trouthunter and few of the others on this issue..I have the George Washington and Jefferson national forest basically 1 mile down the road from my house. Or if you like cutting across my neighbors land less than that..There is always an entrance other than gate or road. Would I do it? if it suited my purpose of hiking for the day.You bet your bippy I would...Do I own the land no. The  public does and the goverment are the caretakers.They have a tough job we all know and agree.

mikemorrow
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March 10, 2011 at 10:26 a.m. (EST)

This might be alittle off topic, but.... If I go to a new trail I check in at the information area. the people there are very helpfull and truely love their jobs. I buy the parking permit even thought they tell me that they dont patrol that lot. And on the counter there is a donation box. For a 3 day trip I drop in $20. It seem to me that is very inexpencive entertainment.

I live in the middle of a NF. And I often walk right in useing old logging roads. Most the time there is garbage for the first mile or so....i think I'm digressing again

I think we should look at these lands as entertainment, and figure the value that it is worth just to hike and camp on these lands. I understand that many of us would hate to have to pay a fee for using a trail. but it is expencive to keep the trails open and clean. I for one would hate to see these lands go up for sale. Hiking a theme park with rides so stockholders can make money just doesnt cut it for me.

If we all look at it as a night out, dinning, a movie, or going to the pub, we can see the value of what we are doing, and paying for it doesnt seem that big of a deal.

trouthunter
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March 10, 2011 at 6:09 p.m. (EST)

Mike Morrow said

"If we all look at it as a night out, dinning, a movie, or going to the pub, we can see the value of what we are doing, and paying for it doesnt seem that big of a deal."

Yes you are correct, when I go to areas that require fees, or when I stay in a campground I gladly pay what is charged. In the big picture, it is always more than reasonable.

I think the last campground I stayed in was Quin Springs in Cherokee NF, the nightly fee was 7.00 and was payed on the honor system by dropping it in a little box along with your registration.

For your 7.00 you got a drive up tent site, power pole, water spigot, an air conditioned bath house, bear proof trash cans, and a large pavilion with picnic tables and grills.


SDC10319.jpg

SDC10321.jpg

mikemorrow
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March 10, 2011 at 6:59 p.m. (EST)

For $7 thats one heck of a deal! and if you think about it way to cheap. LOL

XterroBrando
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March 10, 2011 at 8:51 p.m. (EST)

I am happy to pay to enter parks for outdoor enjoyment. I am also happy to ignore lock-outs and enter at my own peril. I do respect restricted areas based on ecological impact issues, however. $15 for a 3 day/2 night is money well spent compared to $15 for a  2 hr movie, although The King's Speech was worth every penny.

I would not have a problem with Privatization of parks in terms of renaming them. For instance, if Microsoft wanted to contribute countless millions to certain parks, we could rename them Windows to Olympic National Park, or Grand Canyon Vista National Park, or Power Point marine reserve. Apple could follow suit with I-Park, I-Forest, Mac-Peak, etc. Smuckers could support Jellystone NP.

Rick-Pittsburgh
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March 11, 2011 at 9:38 a.m. (EST)

Ohiopyly here in South Western Pa. is somewhat more expensive($20+/night in park, trail is substantially cheaper.) White water rafting, mountian biking, trout fishing, 70+miles LHHT, natural slides, etc. The scenery is beautiful. There is alot of other trails, and lookouts as well. I grew up in this area. The Laurel Highlands is a beautiful place. Its sad for me to think that it could quite possibly be shut down. Being in this environment for me is something you can't put a price on. I would personally live in the outdoors if given the chance. But the responsibilities that I have now(and the wife)just won't seem to let me go Dan Haggerty. :(

Seth Levy (Seth)
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March 11, 2011 at 10:26 a.m. (EST)

Hi Rick - some good news and bad news.: Good news: Ohiopyle and the Laurel Highlands Trail are both State Parks.  The article above is about the potential disruption to National Parks, National Forests and BLM lands.  So - access to state parks should theoretically remain the same even in the event of a government shutdown. 

The bad news: Given state budgets are getting as tight, if not tighter, than federal budgets, I would not be entirely surprised if access to state parks changed in the next several years.  Budgets are supposed to represent the priorities of citizens (notice the "supposed").  A good course of action for people who enjoy recreational resources is to let their elected officials know that these resources are important. 

I've worked on recreational policy issues for a while - and it's always amazed me that getting outside and appreciating how wonderful and beautiful America is has been spared a lot of the partisan rancor that has polluted the discussion of a lot of other issues. 

denis daly
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March 11, 2011 at 10:57 a.m. (EST)

Seth

Since you have been involved with policy. I am sure you keep a close watch on the situation..What is the expected budget shortfall for NP's across the board? Do you think you could estimate an close number by your own personal experiance? That might be helpful to understand more..thanks

Rick-Pittsburgh
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March 11, 2011 at 11:55 a.m. (EST)

Seth- I am aware that they are State level but something was telling my gut that it wouldn't stop at the National level. Who knows. I personally could care less if there was staff/amentities(not saying I don't appreciate them.) I go to get away in the 1st place and I am extremely self sufficient. My biggest thing is for alot of people who have absolutely no experience in an area such as Ohiopyle that there would be alot more people who want to enjoy it but do not have the skill level to completely enjoy the surrounding to their full potential...Or even worse as so many do they go out, buy the gear, and think they know it all only to find themselves in a really serious situation because the guidance was not readily available. Not to mention that they have a bad experience their 1st time out and it leaves an impression that completely deters them from ever wanting to go out and enjoy the outdoors again. Maybe I am looking at this from a simplistic viewpoint but its really sad to me. I could go on and on about this for days.

Seth Levy (Seth)
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March 11, 2011 at 2:19 p.m. (EST)

Dennis - that's a good question!  And with all the best questions - there are no easy answers.

This article (disclosure, this is by the National parks Conservation Association, an organization that does advocate for more funding for parks) helps explain: http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2011/02/updated-national-park-service-budget-would-grow-138-million-under-presidents-fy12-proposal7615


Briefly - if the President's budget got passed verbatim (which it never does), then parks would get a $138 million increase over last fiscal year.  But, Congress writes their own budget.  Different versions released show various levels of cuts to NPS funding.  Since the budget is still in active debate, if it were passed, it's hard to predict what might happen to NPS' budget.  Cuts are likely.  If the budget isn't passed, then we would be heading toward a shutdown, and the level of funding given to any individual agency wouldn't be relevant.  No one agency would get anything, except for funding to accomplish "vital functions." 

Rick - I hear you on that!  I've loved visiting Ohiopyle over the years, both for Great Allegheny Passage, and the rafting.

whomeworry
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March 12, 2011 at 12:45 a.m. (EST)

..I would not have a problem with Privatization of parks in terms of renaming them. For instance...

Be careful what you ask for.  If government can wiggle its way out of union contracts with the stoke of a pen, and strip individual their right rights to collectively bargain for non-essential jobs, it probably can also nullify the whole notion of public parks, and sell them off - I mean privatize - to the highest bidder.  Get ready for the Weyerhaeuser Corporation Olympic National Park Tree Farm, or the Texico Zion National Park Oil Shale Field.

Ed

denis daly
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March 12, 2011 at 1:25 a.m. (EST)

Seth- thanks for the article..your correct" there is no easy answer". that article led me to the subsequent articles listed..It made me go to the NPS website and actually look at how many sites were discussing..392 is the last count. Thats huge..Knowing that some area's don't need as much money but do for proper maintenance and supplies..They say on one of the NPS sites 90% of the budget they use is for computer serve's and outsourceing..Thats to huge a gap in my mind..My example is that those service's could be self sustained by internal personel..Seasonal employee's need to be direct hire temps like the IRS..to much money is being sifted away by major corperations like Aramark who is infact a subsidiary of Hulliburton..Aramark claimed 12 million dollars in revenue last year..Those contracts are now presently are not infavor of the Park Service. I see it as revenue that should be funneled back into the system..But were right back to where we were" there's no easy answer". I see it as to many politicians taking from Peter to pay Paul..the only thing I can say is thank goodness for the 22,000 volunteers who donate time and resources..the non profits who try and make a difference..WOW...

@Dr Reaper- yeah lets give the states the right to run our National Park service lands..If that happens I am sure people in the trades and myself will have new places to build the Next Universal Theme Park..It would make Emminet Domain  the new catch phrase for strip malls....

DrReaper
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March 12, 2011 at 6:06 p.m. (EST)

I didn't say lets let the states sell off the lands to the highest bidder. That's a stretch. I didn't even say let the states exploit the park lands. I said let the states keep the parks open based on the revenue they generate. Bathrooms, parking lots, maybe even trash cleanup. I would also make bunks and meals available to volunteers that want to help. Keep the costs down and keep them open but way scaled back from what they are now. I guess keep the gift shop open and restaurants if they can stay in business on their own income.

Notice the budget offers up another $138 million increase. What are the revenues? How much are they getting exactly? Where is the money spent?

The other day I read a report of a school system investing money on the stock market. They lost a bundle on derivatives. Is there any of this investment in the parks system?

I don't have enough information to make a real proposal. BTW the supreme court ruling on eminent domain was wrong. I still want to take out signs and protest it.

Seth Levy (Seth)
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March 12, 2011 at 9:52 p.m. (EST)

DrReaper - Just want to clarify that this article refers to public lands managed by the federal government and owned, in part, by all of us.  This article does not refer to state parks, though Rick is rightfully concerned for the states of their budgets too.

Notice also that the proposed Presidents budget (which is almost never passed.  it's just the presidents idea of what the budget should look like.  Congress makes their own up) includes an increase of $138 over the previous fiscal year.  Depending on what year you pick to compare to, this is actually down from historic levels.  For example,  if my dad cuts my allowance from $10 to $5 in 2010, then gives me an increase of $1 in 2011 - I should certainly be happy I got the additional dollar - but not without considering that it's still an absolute reduction!

Most folks with resource management background (though certainly not all!) agree that NPS needs more $ to just maintain the maintenance backlog for the lands they already have, not even make a dent in it.  Other public lands, like BLM lands, fare even worse.

If you're curious about where all the money does go - check http://www.nps.gov/applications/budget2/

Rest assured that NPS doesn't invest tax dollars in derivatives!

Federal budgeting is mega-super-massively confusing.  The wikipedia entry is actually pretty good onhttps://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/United_States_federal_budget

 

Bolly
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March 13, 2011 at 11:58 a.m. (EDT)

The question harkens back to a brief furlough for federal employee in a past decade.  Shutting down the government is indeed a political move but has serious adverse consequences to employees, the public, and the lands and resources.  Yes the government owns the land, and the Supreme Court will support most sorts of discretionary management.  But the responsibility for ensuring reasonable government and land management is ours through involvement in policy processes.  It is too important cannot just be left up to the professionals or technicians much less the politicians.  Comment to your legislators, read plans and environmental documents, think very carefully about permit systems and requirements.  Of course we want to have fun in the outdoors, but we also must assume some serious responsibilities as citizen users.  In particular, this is a good time to ask whether the benefits of various permits outweigh the liabilities of getting officially shut out of lands when no one is there to issue or administer the permits.  We supported such regulations but perhaps got a bit carried away.  Now we need to protect the basic rights while we exercise fuller responsibilities.     

trouthunter
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March 13, 2011 at 1:05 p.m. (EDT)

Seth,

Are there any new proposals for creating, expanding, or funding bigger volunteer programs for repairs / maintenance that would be run through the NPS or BLM?  Or is the current level and type of volunteers / programs adequate?

I think that "sweat equity" is a great concept and even people who may be on tight budgets, and are capable, can give back and contribute by volunteering just one day a year.

I have helped with trail maintenance and other 'volunteer days' but these were organized by private groups and clubs.  I was not involved in organizing these events so I don't know everything that goes on behind the scenes to make it all happen.

I am assuming (?) that using private organizations for volunteer work must be the cheapest way to get things done since organization of these activities through NPS or BLM would require involvement by paid staff. Or are they involved anyway even with private organizations when groups come to do trail work?

Now that my kids are grown this is something that I would like to be more involved with.

Where I currently live we don't even have a hiking club that I'm aware of ( I have looked into it), and that is also something I would like to change.

Seth Levy (Seth)
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March 13, 2011 at 2:29 p.m. (EDT)

trout -

What a perspective!  "Not enough money.  OK.  I'll help out."

American Hiking Society, Sierra Club, and other national orgs have formal volunteer programs.  Most involve fees.  Closer to you, see http://www.foothillstrail.org/

I seem to remember they have some good   If you can't find a program to volunteer with, I reccomend talking to the office of whatever park, forest, river, etc..you'd like to help out on.  Sometimes, you can tag along with staff, have fun, learn something, and help out.

XterroBrando
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March 14, 2011 at 4:34 p.m. (EDT)

..I would not have a problem with Privatization of parks in terms of renaming them. For instance...

Be careful what you ask for.  If government can wiggle its way out of union contracts with the stoke of a pen, and strip individual their right rights to collectively bargain for non-essential jobs, it probably can also nullify the whole notion of public parks, and sell them off - I mean privatize - to the highest bidder.  Get ready for the Weyerhaeuser Corporation Olympic National Park Tree Farm, or the Texico Zion National Park Oil Shale Field.

Ed

 True that Ed. Mostly a joke, but wouldn't be complaing if there were heavy restrictions placed on the "bid winner" designed to keep the parks in their best form. Just allow naming rights and private funds to keep the supportive infrastructure and mangement strong. Maybe huge tax breaks for donating businesses? Not terribly well-versed on the complexities, but I do think that there should be a stronger interconnect in the messaging across various media platforms for a "greener" country AND being better stewards of our national parks. Valuing both seems a "natural" stance for a citizen ouf our great Nation.

paoconnell
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March 16, 2011 at 11:19 p.m. (EDT)

"Maybe huge tax breaks for donating businesses?"

Maybe. Media aka "Advertising" in a National Park? No way! I'd rather pay a gate fee.

 

Bolly
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March 18, 2011 at 1:41 a.m. (EDT)

How about paying $90 to access a state park area that is then closed on one side?  Agencies need to show more willingness to accommodate recreational trail users.  Whenever you hear park officials talk about congestion and impacts, then permit buyers and taxpayers alike will be shut out of public lands.

http://rosevillept.com/detail/173874.html?content_source=&category_id=1&search_filter=&user_id=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&event_ts_to=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=1&sub_type=&town_id= http://www.parkwatchreport.org/article.html?pub=alert&query=&art=1945

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14015624

 

 



gonzan
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March 18, 2011 at 9:04 a.m. (EDT)

In my mind I see this scene like in a movie or TV show, whith to people trying to decide how to respond...and it goes something like this:

"You click the link."

      "I'm not clicking it, you do it!"

"Heck no."

      "Well, somebody's gotta' click it."

"Oh what the &%*#, I'll d it!"

*CLICK!*

(Computer freaks out and crashes)

"Oh shit."

     "Told you."

denis daly
87 reviewer rep
1,057 forum posts
March 18, 2011 at 10:32 a.m. (EDT)

I support the local as well as the National level of parks..I understand the complexity these entities go through for funding and the how difficult it is do to the "politico's" who govern over us. It's not the orginizations or Departments who are creating the issue..I mentioned a part that I see that could be fixed, but thats not do to the Park Service but from personal vested interest by said "politico's" who have have a vested interest in that company..I have to enclose full disclosure to a client when I bid on a project to State as well as Federal projects..I understand how difficult they have it and appreciate the the complexities they have to follow in that in regulations pertaining to whatever project they have to bring forward.If anything we need to support all our lobbying groups as well as volunteer orginizations who are haveing a positive approach for us..We need to help the stewards and not be the problem..And yes Gonzan " Oh Shit" is what grabs my attention.When  I read that we are backlogged on Maintenance on over 394 park facilities and structures..Not because of the Park Service or private orinizations but because of Congress..

denis daly
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March 30, 2011 at 11:51 p.m. (EDT)

Seth- where are we at with next weeks deadline on the budget? Just thought I would thro it out to you..I believe your probably better informed and have a better idea...

XterroBrando
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April 1, 2011 at 1:57 a.m. (EDT)

"Maybe huge tax breaks for donating businesses?"

Maybe. Media aka "Advertising" in a National Park? No way! I'd rather pay a gate fee.

 

 My phrasing may not have been clear: in no way do I think there can be any advertising in a NP, even if it was privatized. What I meant was that in current media platforms, there should be a more robust campaign of accountability, reminding those of us who value a "green lifestyle" that we can/should be better stewards and protectors of our National Parks.

That said, I don't mind use fees at all.

Seth Levy (Seth)
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April 6, 2011 at 12:45 p.m. (EDT)

Folks - so far the House is barreling ahead with a budget that it appears that Senate won't be willing to pass.  If there is no compromise by midnight April 8th, a government shutdown would be in effect as of this Saturday.  So, the first day most would notice the effect would be next Monday.  According to several recent news reports, managers at Agencies have begun to receive "shutdown plans." Stay tuned for an update soon!

 

pillowthread
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April 7, 2011 at 1:11 a.m. (EDT)

Looks like I have a trip to plan...

mikemorrow
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April 7, 2011 at 8:43 a.m. (EDT)

I'm on the Oregon coast and this will start hurting our area as soon as Saturday.We rely on travelers and the NP and NF is a big part of most travel plans. for me its no big deal. Happy hiking

denis daly
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April 7, 2011 at 10:37 a.m. (EDT)

I Guess I will findout soon enough this weekend..I was in the military when the budget was an issue the did emergency bill and passed last minute..

gonzan
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April 7, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. (EDT)

I doubt it will happen, and if on the inlikely chance that it does it won't last long.

Denis, when do you start?

denis daly
87 reviewer rep
1,057 forum posts
April 7, 2011 at 11:12 a.m. (EDT)

This weekend I will leave for GA. I pick up 2 compadre's from Atlanta flying in from Panama. Then were off..Brought 3 mechanical pencils with extra lead and a Drawing pad..Have some idea's I need to put on paper..I shall be posting when I can..

kmatjhwy
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42 forum posts
April 7, 2011 at 1:17 p.m. (EDT)

Come Monday headed down to those Escalante Canyons in Southern Utah where I will be hiking and wandering in those canyon wilds for a good long while this spring. Personally am not afraid of a Government Shutdown. They can't close off the millions and millions of public lands around the country which is beyond the end of the road where the trails and life begin. A Government Shutdown just means less rangers out in those lands.

Life is Great!

denis daly
87 reviewer rep
1,057 forum posts
April 8, 2011 at 12:28 a.m. (EDT)

As of now relayed by a LEO Ranger from Shenandoah National Park...If the budget does not pass Tomorrow..The park will close tommorow night to all Hikers and all access points will be blocked.Anyone in the Park will have 48 hrs to exit or be escorted from the park and ticketed..The essential personel are all LEO Rangers and heavily traveled trails wll be patroled...Thats what was relayed to me...I would take this for GSMNP and others Nation wide as well...

mahoosucmayhem
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190 forum posts
April 8, 2011 at 1:17 a.m. (EDT)

I'm sorry, but I'll hike where I want to hike.  It's public land, and despite the fact that some politicians can't get their you know what together isn't going to stop me from taking a stroll through the woods.  Last time I checked, I could safely navigate around a brown locked gate on foot.

whomeworry
102 reviewer rep
2,276 forum posts
April 9, 2011 at 6:46 a.m. (EDT)

I'm sorry, but I'll hike where I want to hike.  It's public land...

I feel the same way about traffic signals and speed limits on public highways.  Rules are for everyone else.   Look out for where I am going... 

While you are using my trails (I own this park too) perhaps consider doing some pro bona trail maintenance while you are there, since we won't be paying anybody to keep things in order, should the government does close down.

Ed

N2DaWild
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69 forum posts
April 9, 2011 at 9:40 a.m. (EDT)

Yep, government shutdown would mean - not a soul present to open the gates or close them. So that would mean free reign too. lol

It would make it a little more difficult to access the backcountry due to the locked gates, but two-leg locomotion can by-pass all obstacles. LOL.

mahoosucmayhem
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190 forum posts
April 9, 2011 at 8:48 p.m. (EDT)

I have done some maint. in the past, help out a trail volunteer whenever I can.  Ed that's a great idea now that I am spending the summer in Maine I may just have to sign up this summah.

 

 

apeman
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April 13, 2011 at 2:55 a.m. (EDT)

This is actually is quite funny and simple.  Yes, the goverment can shut down access to public lands, there the goverment.  It can be declared a wrong action or unconstitutional at a later date by the courts.  But alas, it would be to late as they had already been shut down.  But just think , if all the rangers, law enforcement, and visitor services staff are furloughed, (would the tree that fell make any noise?)  who is left to enforce the closing of said lands. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

whomeworry
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April 13, 2011 at 4:22 a.m. (EDT)

..But just think , if all the rangers, law enforcement, and visitor services staff are furloughed, (would the tree that fell make any noise?)  who is left to enforce the closing of said lands. weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

That is a moot question; trees don't fall during government shutdowns.  The trees in the forest fall only when there is money to be made - who works for free?

Ed

Alicia
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April 13, 2011 at 11:27 a.m. (EDT)

For those of you curious about what exactly would have happened if the government had shutdown last Saturday, read Seth's followup:

Shutdown Averted: National parks, public lands remain open

While it didn't happen, the potential impacts are interesting.

Seth Levy (Seth)
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April 13, 2011 at 3:50 p.m. (EDT)

Hi Apeman - this is an interesting question.  If ownership of our public lands is truly public, and the government just manages them for us - how can we be shut out?  I've asked a number of folks about this, and the answer is typically that courts have, over a number of decisions, upheld the notion that visitors have a right to a certain set of expectations of a minimum level of service,  for instance, search and rescue, obvious hazards signed, marked trails, etc..  If the government is shutdown, access to lands would be largely forbidden because these services would not exist.  It's an odd argument, to be sure.

 

gonzan
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April 13, 2011 at 4:12 p.m. (EDT)

...the answer is typically that courts have, over a number of decisions, upheld the notion that visitors have a right to a certain set of expectations of a minimum level of service,  for instance, search and rescue, obvious hazards signed, marked trails, etc... 

 It stands to reason that in park managed to encourage and facilitate visitation and use by people of all social strata the visitors would bear a reasonable expectation of some services.

 The law needs to change so that if public land is not managed, whether due to lack of funds or any other reason, there can be no expectation of service. If I go where there are no cell towers I cannot expect cell service. If I chose to dine in the middle of a field where there is no restaurant, I cannot expected to be waited on. If I venture into the wild I cannot expect to be presented with anything but what the wild has to offer.

In short, placation of ignorance has no place in government, and the right of the people is still paramount.  Access to public land must not be denied even if there are no funds for social programs, which is exactly what managed park infrastructure, facilities, and services are.  

Seth Levy (Seth)
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April 14, 2011 at 3:10 p.m. (EDT)

Gonzan - this is a very interesting debate!  For users like us, less infrastructure is better.  I do like a shelter every now an again on the AT, but I can (usually) do without the snack bars and handrails.  However, I've learned over the years that a lot of infrastructure is important in terms of resource protection.  Heavily trafficked trails concentrate use (and impacts) to small areas.  Parking lots prevent folks from "improvising" parking spots.  Toilets prevent "TP flowers" from proliferating in the wilderness.  I agree that it's sad that with these important services, some of which are designed to prevent the public from destroying public lands, comes the expectation of creature comforts, the lack of which creates legal arguments preventing access for those of us who have no need of those creature comforts in the first place!  I suppose people would argue that this is the reason we have wilderness? 

I wonder what others think?  Are there "developed facilities" that we all would like to retain?

gonzan
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April 14, 2011 at 3:57 p.m. (EDT)

I should probably clarify:

I am not apposed to managed infrastructure and facilities, within reason, if the means are available. But if and when the means of funding programs and facilities are not available or in conflict with actual needs, then they must be addressed for what they are: beneficial though elective social programs.

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