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Tue October 1, 2013
Government shutdown forces national park closures
Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks are closed as a result of the federal government shutdown.
Grand Teton Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott says visitors staying at campgrounds and hotels in the park have 48 hours to leave. Most park staffers are being furloughed, except for certain emergency personnel.
“It’s crushing to have to go through a government shutdown,” Scott said. “The last one that I was involved in was a three-week closure in 1996. It’s demoralizing. You are doing exactly what you are not committed to this agency to do, and that’s preventing people from enjoying their parks.”
Scott says individual parks had very little say in how to respond to the shutdown, and she urges visitors to respect closures, and park employees who are enforcing the closures.
“It’s very disappointing that some visitors have been difficult … with our staff, who are out there doing their job and instituting mandated closures,” she said. “These staff have absolutely no decision making power or discretion in implementing these closures.”
Scott says this would normally be a busy time of year for Grand Teton National Park, with more than 500 overnight reservations daily.