What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP? | High Sierra Topix  

What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby tim » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:06 pm

HikeSierraNevada wrote:Caddis, I think I found your question, but it was in reply to someone else's post, not mine.

"Why should a government shut down necessitate shutting down a private enterprise that actually works?"

This is in regard to closing private campgrounds on National Forest or National Park property. First off, some of the best campground are actually run by government employees, so I disagree with your implication that only private enterprise works. As to your question, I suggest speaking with a Forest Supervisor, Park Superintendent, or a higher level Regional manager to get the best answer to your question. In the mean time, we can all speculate why, and I'll take my shot at it to avoid dodging your question. I'm guessing that all government contractors, including those that run campgrounds on public property, are subject to legal and financial oversight of some sort. We don't just hand over the keys to private contractors and walk away. There's a long history of fraud when that happens, which is why we have government workers removed from the profit motive. It might seem minor for campgrounds compared to a defense contractor or highway construction company, but it takes people at many levels of government to make the private-public system work correctly. We don't see those people working in the background to make things happen, but they're there. Except now, they aren't there.

That's my speculation to answer your question, but again, I recommend asking someone at the correct level of government to explain it. I hope this was neutral enough for everyone.


Not taking sides, but here is a question that hasn't been asked. If Forest Service campgrounds are closed down, won't all ski areas that are on Forest Service land also be closed down? Maybe not so relevant in the first week of October (although I think some ski areas in the Pacific Northwest are supposed to be open very soon), but if we get a 1-2 month extension and then another shutdown, what happens then? Anyone remember what happened back in 1995 when I believe the shutdown was over Christmas and New Year? If the ski areas stayed open back then, I think the private companies running the campgrounds have every right to feel hard done by this time around.



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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby oldranger » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:01 pm

Seems to me this discussion belongs in the campfire.

Mike
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby dave54 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:55 pm

There is an inconsistency within the FS as to what is shut down and what is not. In general, most developed sites/facilities are closed but the general forest is not. So a trailhead with an outhouse is closed and a trailhead without an outhouse remains open. However, this is not universally true, as some of each are open/closed contrary to my previous sentence. The trails on NF lands remain open, as there is no way to effectively close them. Dispersed camping is still allowed in every forest I checked. I have not heard of any NF that has proclaimed no dispersed camping or no non-developed use. It would be unenforceable and possibly not even legal.

One of the major differences between the NPS and Forest Service is the Forest Service is by design and regulation a decentralized organization with decisions made locally. It has been oft noted the most powerful person within the FS is not the Chief Forester in DC, not Regional Foresters, not even Forest Supervisors. The most powerful person is the local District Ranger because he/she makes the decisions affecting operations and management of the land itself. In the absence of clear policy and direction from above (like the current situation), the local DR decides what to close and what to leave open. Most are opting to leave open as much as possible, whereas the NPS seems to favor a heavy-handed one-size-fits-all closure.

Then you also have several NPS employees reported in the news open stating they have been ordered to close everything they can to "make it hurt the public". If true, you have to wonder how high on the food chain that order originated (NPS HQ?,DOI?, White House?)
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby dave54 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 7:10 pm

tim wrote:...Not taking sides, but here is a question that hasn't been asked. If Forest Service campgrounds are closed down, won't all ski areas that are on Forest Service land also be closed down? ... I think the private companies running the campgrounds have every right to feel hard done by this time around.


I would think it depends on the campground and the specific contractual agreement between the FS and the operator. Most ski areas operate under special use permits for the hill itself, and the buildings at the bottom may be on private land (some of the infrastructure at the bottom are private, some are on NF lands under permit). Without authorized inspectors the lifts cannot operate, and the authorized inspectors are often FS employees. Whether the inspectors are declared 'essential' or not would dictate whether they are furloughed or not. In either case that is not an issue unless the ski hills want to open before the budget brouhaha resolves itself.

Timber sales and contracts are suspended, because the required FS contract inspectors are furloughed. LEOs and firefighters are not furloughed, and they will not be patrolling the backcountry.
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby SweetSierra » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:05 pm

dave54 wrote:
Then you also have several NPS employees reported in the news open stating they have been ordered to close everything they can to "make it hurt the public". If true, you have to wonder how high on the food chain that order originated (NPS HQ?,DOI?, White House?)


This is not true, as I understand. I saw a poster (posted by a conservative group, I don't remember the URL) that's been traveling around Facebook and other places (stating the above supposedly quoting some anonymous park ranger.) It's pure propaganda and completely concocted. This is what certain folks have been trying to do: distance themselves from the shutdown and blame it on the president and government employees. Ridiculous. This is just their spin. Completely transparent. It bothers me that it's being repeated as truth.
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby kutty » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:26 pm

A followup to my post from last week - and a trip report for Desolation Wilderness.

On Sat I drove up and entered DW from the glen alpine entrance. Ranger station on hwy 50 was closed of course. About a dozen day use hikers where there. I ran into a large group (10+) that were overnighting and where on their way up.

Spent 3 nights at Susie lake, there was at least 3 other groups on the lake that night. Sun/Mon I did day hikes and only talked to 1 other backpacker, and visually saw 2 others from far away.

Takeaway - nobody is checking permits.

Oh, the fishing was pretty good at susie - caught 15+ brook trout in the 10-15in range. Half moon, heather, and aloha got nothing from me - I think the trout were hanging deep and I didnt have the right gear.
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby mediauras » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:59 pm

oldranger wrote:Seems to me this discussion belongs in the campfire.

Mike


+1
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby caddis » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:00 am

SweetSierra wrote:This is not true, as I understand.

Yet evidence suggests otherwise. The government has shut down 17 times in the past, have you heard of these problems before now?

Has the NPS ever tried to stop people from LOOKING at Mt Rushmore?
Have you ever heard of the Park Service closing down open-air war memorials before?
Have we ever been entertained with stories like this in the past?:
Yellowstone:

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”


It doesn't add up and we should all be naturally asking ourselves why
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby TahoeJeff » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:24 am

Why is the national Amber Alert website down, but Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" site is still up?
How come the WW2 Veterans Memorial is closed, but illegal aliens can have a rally at the National Mall?
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:59 am

Well of course a government shutdown is a mess. Duh. Perhaps a complete shutdown would satisfy the needs of those wanting a shutdown. Furlough the entire military, all law enforcement, the whole boat of tea. Nothing spared, complete victory for the shutdown folks.

It's really quite easy to end the shutdown. Just repeal Obamacare entirely and fund the Affordable Care Act instead. :nod:
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby TahoeJeff » Wed Oct 09, 2013 8:29 am

Well yeah, duh, its a mess, but maybe a highly selective mess designed to impact some more than others, duh!
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Re: What does a govt shutdown mean for access to NF and NP?

Postby maverick » Wed Oct 09, 2013 10:54 am

Let's please keep the discussion about "What the shutdown means for access
to NF and NP" and not take it down other avenues. If you would like to discuss
other aspects of the shutdown, but still Sierra related, start a new thread in
the "Campfire" section.
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