As a part of the federal government shutdown, all public lands managed by the Department of the Interior (National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, Bureau of Land Management facilities, etc.) will be closed until further notice.
As an example of what this entails, here is what a shutdown looks like for the National Park Service:
Services and programs that will remain operational:
- Law enforcement including the U.S. Park Police and emergency and disaster assistance.
- Firefighting and monitoring.
- Border and coastal protection and surveillance.
- Limited management of ongoing projects that are funded from non-lapsing appropriations.
- Access to through roads.
Services and programs that will be ceased:
- All national parks will be closed and secured.
- Visitor centers and other facilities will be closed.
- Education programs and special events will be canceled.
- Permits for special events will be rescinded.
- Guests staying in hotels and campgrounds will be notified of the closure and given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.
At the time of closing many trails were cleared of hikers, bicyclists, etc. and all trails on these lands are now officially closed. While AHS is not at all pleased with this (to put it mildly), please do observe the closures and avoid hiking on closed trails.
As for the US Forest Service, while offices, information stations, and programs are closed, the lands remain open for recreational uses such as hiking. While AHS believes this to be the case for all Forest Service land, we are unable to get confirmation from the government…because they’re closed!
AHS encourages you to take this time to get out and explore your state parks and trails and maybe consider pitching in there with a little volunteering on the trail if you have the inclination.