Park Service cites trespassers at Grand Canyon, Yellowstone

What do you think? Is this a political stunt, or a reasonable reaction by the Park Service?

National Forests are open to visitors, though offices are closed and most employees are furloughed. I cut firewood (with a valid permit) on the Mt. Hood NF last weekend and saw lots of folks on bikes or in cars, and lots of cars parked at trailheads. Also saw two USFS law enforcement folks. So in National Forests are open to hikers, woodcutters, and others, why not National Parks?

Steve

From Greenwire:

Park Service cites dozens of trespassers at Grand Canyon, Yellowstone

The National Park Service issued citations to nearly two dozen people entering Grand Canyon National Park amid the government shutdown.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office will handle all citations, which Grand Canyon Chief Ranger Bill Wright said were given to some people spotted at the South Rim on trails, attempting rim-to-rim hikes or attempting to sneak into the park via dirt roads.

Law enforcement is patrolling the park, but most other park workers are furloughed, Wright said (AP/New York Times, Oct. 9).

Yellowstone and Grand Teton national park officials also have cited visitors attempting to sneak in.

“We have issued nine citations,” Grand Teton spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said earlier this week.

Yellowstone National Park spokesman Al Nash said there have not been “widespread” issues as a result of the closures. “I know a few citations have been written,” Nash said. “We do have a fairly robust boundary patrol in conjunction with hunting season on land surrounding the park.”

In all, about 510 National Park Service workers in both parks were furloughed (AP/Billings Gazette, Oct. 8). — WW

4 Comments

  1. The agency has no staff to manage the land, maintain facilities, monitor ecological impacts, oversee concessionaires, etc. and the ilimited law enforcement staff available cannot do everything. It should not be surprising that the agency has closed its lands and it is not in the least a “political stunt.”

  2. As for the agency-by-agency difference, some of it is assuredly the FS’ concession to practicality – there is no feasible way to close NFs given their size and number of roads, inholdings, etc. National parks have many fewer access points and thus closures are more easily enforced. Also, the NPS has a different, stricter legal mandate than the Forest Service as regards protecting its land base and resources. The FS has gated and closed many of its developed recreation sites for the same reason.

    This should not come as a surprise to anyone – all parks were closed in the last shutdown in 1995-96, and it was not a ” political stunt” then either. The parks cannot operate without operating funding.

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