US Department of Interior impacted by partial federal government shutdown
The United States Department of Interior has been impacted by the partial federal government shutdown that went into effect early Saturday December 22, 2018. Funding for about a quarter of the federal government has expired and some 800,000 employees from nine key federal departments and dozens of federal agencies have been furloughed or are working without pay. The departments impacted are Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Housing and Urban Development. This is the third federal government shutdown this year.
Among the federal employees furloughed at the Department of Interior (DOI) are most of workers at the National Park Service (NPS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). DOI websites and social media accounts will not be updated.
Under the contingency plan of the National Park Service, no national parks will be open and no visitor services — including restrooms, facility and road maintenance, snow plowing, and trash collection — will be provided. Scheduled programs will be canceled, visitor centers will be closed and campgrounds will be unstaffed. Visitors are requested to practice "leave no trace" principles to avoid fouling up the national parks when no visitor services are available.
However, some national parks may remain open due to funding from states and charitable groups.
Under the contingency plan of the Fish and Wildlife Service, all National Wildlife Refuge System facilities that require the presence of a federal employee or contractor will be closed during the shutdown. Public access to National Wildlife Refuge lands and activities on refuge lands will be allowed to continue but at the visitor's sole risk.
Update: The United States federal government partial shutdown that began on Saturday, December 22, 2018 ended on Friday, January 25, 2019.