Forest Service Closing Concessionaire Campgrounds

Here’s a link to a story from New Hampshire NPR.

The shutdown of the federal government is expanding to include privately run campgrounds in national forests across the country, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service said late Thursday.

“We are in the process of shutting these operations down at facilities across the country due to the lapse in funding,” wrote spokesman Leo Kay in an e-mail. “Some closures have already taken place while others are still in progress.”

That is expected to include twenty-two campgrounds in The White Mountain National Forest operated by Pro Sports Inc. of Campton.

However Kent Tower, the owner of Pro Sports, said he has not yet been told to close and expects to be open this weekend. The campgrounds were scheduled to close October 14th.

The closings are unwarranted because the campgrounds are operated by private businesses that do not need federal help, said Marily Reese, the executive director of the National Forest Recreation Association. It represents about 150 companies nationwide that operate campgrounds in national forests.

“It is a huge impact to our business owners for this loss of business and it is just a heartbreaking, heartbreaking result for the public and there is really no reason because these sites don’t require federal funding,” she

She said the closing is puzzling because in previous shutdowns the campground operators were allowed to remain open.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Kay said the decision to close campgrounds in the national forests is consistent with the closing of national parks but he declined to answer additional questions.

Sounds a bit confusing…perhaps the idea is that the overseers are not there so they can’t proceed? But how much overseeing is really done regularly, do we know? And plenty of other things are overseen that are not recreation, that aren’t closed down. If this goes on until mid-October ski areas will or will not be opening.

Dear FS, USDA or Whomever.. please have a logical explanation for what you shut down, share it with the public (your logic) and be consistent across the country. I ask in the name of Gifford Pinchot. Amen..

3 Comments

  1. I could be wrong, but I suspect that the decision may come from the USDA or even the Obama Administration, not within the Forest Service. I am a Forest Service employee and as of Sept. 30, I was told that due to trust funds and carry over dollars that the FS has that would not be affected by a Government shutdown, that we would be able to work until Oct. 4. When I went to work on Oct. 1, we were told that we were being furloughed and had 4 hours to conduct shutdown operations. When I asked who in the FS dropped the ball misinforming us that we could work until the 4th, I was told that the White House wanted consistency across USDA and the FS had to shutdown like all the other agencies. I don’t know what the truth is, but I too would like answers as to who makes these decisions and their rationale. If an agency has funding not affected by a shutdown and could stay open a few more days to continue serving the public, that seems like the right thing to do and of course would make sence.

  2. Matt.. one of the hardest things to do in DC in my opinion is to 1) move ahead and do things and 2) be able to intuit what others are going to want you to do. I was involved in many many meetings planning for many many shutdowns (many of which didn’t happen).

    People in agencies get jerked around for sure.. I’m just not sure that in something so complex as the federal government, with situations as unusual as real shutdowns, there is any way for that not to happen. That doesn’t make it any less frustrating to be at the tail end of being jerked around.

  3. Matt V

    Re: “the White House wanted consistency across USDA and the FS had to shutdown like all the other agencies”
    —> This could suggest that the reasoning was to exert maximum pressure on the republicans to cave in on a continuing resolution by maximizing the misery index for the voting public.

    Sharon

    Re: “perhaps the idea is that the overseers are not there so they can’t proceed”
    —> If we were to ignore my response to Matt V and give the decision makers the benefit of the doubt, it could be as simple as reducing the risk of fire by reducing the number of people in the woods.

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