5 Ways You Can Help National Parks During A Government Shutdown

6 Ways You Can Help National Parks During A Government Shutdown

During a government shutdown, the entire federal system is not completely closed. Several federal entities are still open, such as VA hospitals, banks and the Post Office. Some National Parks are closed completely, but many are partially open. This means that while our public lands are flooded with the usual visitors, they are wildly understaffed during a shutdown. No trash removal and un-managed restrooms is a luxury we forget that requires constant upkeep, and that does not even cover all the bases. A shutdown also means an increase in vandalism and illegal fires (come on folks, we can do better than that).

The government is only ‘partially’ shutdown, but its effects are deeply affecting places like public lands that rely on the people who care for and manage them... The National Park gates are open, but these parks are not ready for business as usual
— Katie Boue

Explorers, if you are headed to a park during this shutdown, please do your part and be an advocate for the land. Here are a few recommendations on how you can help:

  1. Bring a trash bag and fill it up while you go. Park roads, lookouts and trails mostly remain open and heavily trafficked. More people, more litter.

  2. Bring an extra roll of toilet paper and/or paper towels and leave it in the restroom. When bathrooms run out of toiletries, they will not be restocked. Donations are highly appreciated.

  3. Check your Park’s website and respect the areas that are closed. Parks may not be posting updated closures during this time, but existing closures and warnings will still be posted and should be heeded. ALL EXISTING RULES AND REGULATIONS ARE STILL IN EFFECT.

  4. If you see someone vandalizing property or starting a ground fire, take note and report this immediately. We want the Parks to be around for the long haul.

  5. Pack in, pack out. Leave no trace and respect the environment. ✌🏼❤️

Additionally, no permits are issued during a shutdown, which means no backcountry or wilderness camping. Permits are issued for your safety, so please be mindful of this rule. There is no check-in/check-out for standard campsites, so we can assume they are open to use without permits if available.

Let us start the new year right by serving our precious public land, or wherever you go to get some fresh air. 🍃Here is a list of open, partially open, and closed National Parks during the government shutdown. Be sure to click on each individual Park site for the most clear and updated information:

[open] national parks:

[partially OPEN] national parks:

[closed] national parks: