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What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

Tucson, Arizona
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What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

The following was posted on another website and I do not know how accurate it is but I post it for what it is worth:

Posted by Mary Kessler on 12:19:47 04/08/11

My sister let me know what will happen to Death Valley if there is a government shutdown. Sad, sad, sad.

[b]Death Valley park shutdown[/b]

-- all park roads that can be gated closed will be Closed, all other dirt roads will be signed as closed.

-- only Hwy 190 remains open but no access to Zabriskie Point, Dante's View, the sand dunes, etc. All NPS rest rooms and the visitor center will be closed. Visitors will not be allowed to hike off of hwy 190.

-- The campgrounds will be closed and all hikers and backcountry users will be told the park is CLOSED and that they must leave.

-- Stovepipe Wells resort will be forced to close after guests are given 48 hours notice.

-- all park employees exept for a few law enforcement will be laid off (put on furlough). employees will not be allowed to work or even volunteer, volunteers will not be allowed to work, workers will not be allowed to access their computes, employees must remain available to work, but may not get paid for "hanging around" waiting to be called to work.

-- the park website will be closed down

-- the park's weather might not be colleted for the first time in 100 years.

ZB

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thousand Oaks...
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1. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

Yes, that seems to be correct.

The best part of all this is that Congress men & women continue to get paid!

Dr. Z

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2. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

Yes, these are the same policies that I'm reading/hearing about at other parks.

I will say that the drive on 190 is still wonderfully scenic, but it's a terrible shame not to be able to get out of one's car. We were going to go over this weekend. :(

I can't believe the park website will be shut down - but I suppose if they have to turn off all their computers, they have to shut them down - amazing.

Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

Yes, we are planning a visit as well but staying at FC and PSR and hopefully they will remain open. We will just have to hike on BLM land. I doubt they can figure out a way to close that!

ZB

San Francisco
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4. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

** "The best part of all this is that Congress men & women continue to get paid!" **

You bet. Isn't that great? POTUS and Cognress members are such paragons of competence, diligence, integrity, and loving concern for the American people, it would just be a crying shame to treat them like actual working employees and make them EARN rather than just GET their pay.

This topic has taken a beating on the Yosemite forum too. Many posts have been deleted, showing the level of frustration people are feeling, so let's try to include something TRAVEL related in all our posts so we don't get shut down. In fact, it looks like that thread got closed. :(

The reason you can use 190 is that it's a state highway and connects other state or U.S. highways. CalTrans and Calif. Highway Patrol have authority. If the park closes, you can drive on 190, stop on the shoulder, but not leave the road. Even if you are a U.S. taxpayer who still has to file and fork over this week and you've been paying for your parks for years.

There are ways to get into Death Valley that don't involve ranger stations or fee boxes, but it's a bad idea to sneak in. It can be interpreted as trespassing on Federal land, although we can't predict what the penalty might be. The skeleton crew of rangers left to protect the park while their colleagues wait out the politicians and can't do the work they love will not be overly happy to see you. If you get into trouble in the boonies, you could go without help for a long time. You could sneak in from Big Pine, break down, go hiking and break your leg, run out of water, have no cell phone access, and go for days without seeing a ranger (they'll be protecting main roads, buildings, or camps) or another visitor (they'll all be in state parks). If you damage anything by fire, vehicle, etc. while trespassing in your own park that you paid taxes for, a Federal judge won't be too happy about that.

This entire business stinks, but we Americans live in a country where we get to elect the nutcases who govern us instead of having them take over by coup d'etat or years of genocidal civil war. Pay attention to the NPS, other land agencies, and your real friends here at TA forums and go to Red Rock Canyon (there's a RRC west of Las Vegas and a RRC Calif. state park near the town of Mojave), Valley of Fire, Anza Borrego, or the beaches.

Since I've mustered up the energy for this rant, I also want to apologize on behalf of all Americans to worldwide visitors whose trips to the U.S. (the only opportunity ever for some of you) are in chaos. We know you have dreamed for years of seeing Yosemite, Death Valley, Yellowstone, the Statue of Liberty, or the Everglades. We don't have a right to ask you to "understand." You have a right to come to the richest, most powerful country on earth and be able to enjoy it, as you've dreamed and planned and saved up for, maybe for years. Please go to any pertinent TA forum and ask for advice and we will try to ease the loss you may experience from the snafu in Washington. We appreciate our visitors from around the world and want you to enjoy your time here even if it isn't entirely what you expected.

Edited: 08 April 2011, 22:10
Sunnyvale, CA
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5. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

We have reservations at Furnace Creek for the weekend of April 16th which is ironically the beginning of the Nation Park Week!!

I will restrain myself from stating my opinions other than the fact that we planned this trip last October, have been wanting to go for years and my whole family is crushed.

If we do go to Furnace Creek - what else is there to see close by? Is Red Rock Canyon state park any good?

I know the drive on 190 is beautiful but it seem silly not to be able to even get out of the car to hike to the dunes and/or mosaic canyon.

San Francisco
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6. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

If the country is without a budget until April 16, we're in a lot worse situation in terms of governance and the wisdom and prudence of our elected officials than even our worst current fears could conjure up. :(

Furnace Creek is private property within the park. Technically, private property within a park has to be accessible to the owners, tenants, or users. However, being surrounded by NPS land, you might be confined to quarters, literally. You could drive on 190 but not go to the NPS landmarks.

Red Rock Canyon State Park on Hwy 14 outside of Death Valley is a small park with a few primitive campgrounds. You could go there, but if you do, I wouldn't spend the money to stay in FCR if DVNP is closed because you couldn't go sightseeing or do any real activities in DV. As the procedures cited by ZB say, roads to places like Dante's View, Devil's Golf Course, etc. will be closed, and you can't even get out and walk to Zabriskie Point.

There is also the Red Rock Canyon near Las Vegas, which is, I think, even smaller than the RRC near Mojave. If you go that far, might as well go to Valley of Fire (NV) State Park, about 70 miles east of Las Vegas, where you can camp, hike, and see red rock landscapes of the kind Utah has. But do not, we hasten to repeat, do not get out and dip a toe in Lake Mead, because that's NPS and you be a TRESPASSER.

Let's all keep an ear tuned to what the fubar's in Washington are doing for the next few hours. It could very well be that divine intervention will bring about an unprecedented and cataclysmic miracle (to wit, Congress and the President will all show some common sense), and the country will be able to go on functioning.

Tucson, Arizona
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7. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

I have a funny feeling the Saline Valley Road will be closed ( it is most of the time anyway by a sign kind of sitting in the road ) which most folks drive around. Obviously this is still park, and as Frisco so notes it comes with all the risks. But if one heads south toward Ballarat, one is no longer in DVNP. I am sure Surprise Canyon will be closed as well. South of the park is BLM land, I wonder if they can really close that since it is never posted anyway . I guess this will all boil down to we are not supposed to hike on our own land because our elected friends managing the land of the free and the brave are too busy playing chicken with each other. I must say it is very confusing. Imagine starting to walk behind the campground at PSR and up into Rainbow Canyon and find yourself trespassing on Federal land. What about the Timbisha Tribe? I think if they are reading this they could make some money by allowing some of us hikers to pay a fee and park on their land. I wonder if the rangers can tell the difference between me and a Timbasha if I wander off from the res on foot? Will they care? I say now is a good time for the Shoshone to take back the land! Hey Timbasha folks...how can we help?

ZB

8. Re: What Happens to Death Valley if the Government is Shut Down?

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