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NPS Closures Affect Recreation Sites, Visitors

October 3, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Dennis and Trish Fariseo were just setting up their camper at Lynx Lake Tuesday when a Prescott National Forest employee told them they would have to leave within 48 hours. They had traveled from Ojai, Calif. to visit family on their only camping trip of the year, and they had hoped to stay longer, they told the Prescott Valley (Ariz.) Tribune.

They knew a government shutdown was looming because Congress was having trouble approving a budget as its new fiscal year was set to begin Tuesday, but they decided they weren’t going to let it ruin their vacation because they couldn’t move the dates, Trish said.

“It’s not cool to do this to people like us,” she said. “Their bickering should not affect us in any way.”

“Why do they have to shut down the campgrounds?,” Dennis wondered out loud. “It seems like they’re going out of their way to make it more painful.”

According to the Tribune report, all the campgrounds and day-use fee areas on the Prescott Forest are closed, although campers are getting 48 hours to leave. The rest of the 1.2-million-acre forest remains open.

All fee sites on national forests, national parks and U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands are closed because nearly all their employees were furloughed until Congress agrees on a budget. State parks remain open and many have campgrounds.

The Prescott Forest has about 150 employees, and the fire and law enforcement personnel are about the only ones still working today, Maneely said. Offices are closed.

The BLM furloughed 452 of its 507 employees in Arizona and closed all its developed campgrounds.

The Park Service closed all its parks, and campers and hotel guests have to leave by 3 p.m. Thursday. The agency estimates Grand Canyon will lose $55,000 in revenues daily and furlough 438 employees, with another 1,400 concessions employees possibly being affected.

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