Calif. Ranger Explains Shutdown Decisions

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October 25, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Why did private campground concessionaires in National Forests and National Parks have to stop operations during the partial U.S. government shutdown earlier this month? A California ranger explained the reasoning to Sierra Wave Media of Bishop, Calif.

Mammoth District Ranger Jon Regelbrugge said orders came from the national level about government-owned facilities.

He said that campgrounds which are under permit to concessionaires are government-owned. The permit, said Regelbrugge, allows a concessionaire to operate the facilities “subject to the terms and conditions in the permit.” Forest Service staff exercises “oversight and ensures compliance with permit terms and conditions,” he said.

Forest Service employees do operate the water and waste water systems at campgrounds and conduct certain types of repairs. Regelbrugge said many of the water systems service other facilities in addition to campgrounds. Officials in the Inyo National Forest received direction from the national office of the Forest Service to suspend permits for operating federally-owned facilities. The same policy was activated in national parks.

Some campgrounds reopened following the government shutdown but have no water or trash service. One concessionaire, California Land Management or CLM, holds a number of permits for campgrounds on the Mammoth and Mono Lake Ranger Districts. Since it was close to the end of the season, CLM decided not to reopen their campsites after the government got back into business.

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