National Park Service

Park Service facilities shuttered by government shutdown

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Reprinted courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice 

By  on January 20, 2018

Wirght Brothers National Memorial Saturday. (Rob Morris)

Facilities at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site are closed until further notice in the wake of the federal government shutdown that went into effect at midnight on Saturday.

While all buildings, including offices, visitors centers, restrooms and off-road vehicle permit offices are closed, access to the parks themselves is not restricted.

“We’re doing everything we can to allow the public to utilize areas of the park that don’t require staffing this time of year,” said Outer Banks Group superintendent David Hallac.

That includes keeping the beaches, parking lots and access roads open, except for the gates at the front entrance of Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

“Because we collect fees with personnel at the gate, those will remain closed during the shutdown,” Hallac said.

During the shutdown, a limited number of law enforcement rangers will be patrolling the three Park Service sites. The rest of the staff, including Hallac, will be on furlough.

Ramp 72 on Ocracoke. Access ramps are open. Photo by C. Leinbach

That means the national parks’ social media accounts and websites won’t be updated, and the campground reservation system through Recreation.gov has been disabled.

Unlike the last shutdown in October 2013, the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center will be able to stay open.

 Hallac said “guidance” from the Park Service regional office in Atlanta and headquarters in Washington was that the privately-operated marina, store and fish cleaning station can stay open.

“We have a great operator at the fishing center, and because it doesn’t require any Park Service personnel to run there is no reason to close it,” Hallac said.

Congress returned Saturday to work on a compromise spending bill to fund the federal government.

NPS visitor center on Ocracoke. Photo by C. Leinbach