US shutdown hits thousands of off-grid homes

Stealth van dwellers
Poorest suffer most
The National Park Service(NPS) issued a warning last week to all people residing in its parks and campgrounds, in RVs in the backcountry, or on houseboats in government owned marinas — that they will be required to leave the parks by 3 p.m. last Thursday and find other accommodations due to the federal government shutdown.

At Lake Mohave, for example, part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the park is closed to the general public. The Lake Mead NRA is operated by the National Park Service, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

When Lake Mohave facilities are on a holiday schedule such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, the entrance station is closed, but visitors are still permitted to enter the park. That was not the case Tuesday, as the entrance was barricaded and a park ranger was posted there to determine who enters and who gets turned away.

“The difference is we don’t have the full-time staff in the park,” said Christie Vanover, Lake Mead NRA public affairs officer. “So there are times when we don’t have entrance station crews available but there’s still the security and the protection within the park for people to recreate and there’s still full concessions operations.” (See TV report)

All people residing in the park — in the Katherine Landing trailer village, in homes at Cabinsite Point, or on houseboats in the Katherine Landing marina — will be required to leave the park by 3 p.m. Thursday and find other accommodations, Vanover said. For the duration of the shutdown, however, anyone with personal property in the park will be allowed to enter to retrieve it, she said.

“We can’t deny access to personal property,” Vanover said. “We are allowing them access into the park in case they want to remove any of their belongings inside of their vessel or trailer, or if they want to actually remove their vessel or (campground) trailer from the park so that they can use it at another location.”

Basically ALL of the federal parks under the National Park Service (NPS) are closed. This includes the National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, Wildlife Refuge Areas. Even Great Smoky Mountains National Park which some people thought might remain partially open, seeing as how it has no “gates” and no entrance fee, is closed.

The Park Service’s main webpage, nps.gov, has been shut down but some individual park sites are still up. NPS status can be found on the Dept of Interior’s website, www.doi.gov.

The official contingency plan for the national parks says, “Park roads would be closed except when they are necessary as thruways” which has implications for parks like the Grand Canyon and Zion but I really don’t know the current status.

Your options for parks during the shutdown include state parks and tribal parks.




Options in Arizona and southern Utah (for example) are myriad very attractive state parks and parks on tribal land. Around Page that would be Antelope Canyon, then there’s Monument Valley, or Canyon de Chelly, to name just a few. the latter two absolutely top notch destinations. There are many notable State parks along UT SR 12, Goblin, Kodachrome, etc, and outside Moab there’s the Dead Horse Point SP, which gives you the same views Canyonlands, its next door big neighbor, as well as many trails Outside Phoenix there’s the Lost Dutchman State Park which leads you along or into the Superstitions , etc … there’s no dearth of possibilities: there are myriad options, and of course, as stated above, some of the parks have ‘normal’ highways running across them (Zion, Capitol Reef)

Vanover said 170 Lake Mead NRA employees have been furloughed. There are another 60 who are considered essential, including park rangers “so that they can still provide emergency response for the limited (number of) people that are here as well as provide security not only for the property but for the resources. And then there will be a water treatment facility operator who will remain on staff and then there’s a couple of other administrative folks who will remain on staff, including myself,” she said.Vanover said the Lake Mead NRA welcomes approximately 450,000 visitors in October and the economic impact on the area economy, which includes Bullhead/Laughlin and Las Vegas, is roughly $17 million for this month alone.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 31, 1.1 million people entered the park at Katherine Landing, up from 660,000 at this point last year, Vanover said. “We don’t know the full reason but we do attribute it slightly to fluctuating lake levels at Lake Mead, whereas Lake Mohave doesn’t have the same fluctuating lake levels.”

Because they will not be maintained, the National Park Service and Lake Mead NRA websites will be down for the duration of the shutdown, Vanover said. For updates on the shutdown, go to www.doi.gov/shutdown.

7 Responses

  1. On the Government Shutdown – Anyone care to refute the following:

    — The people who wrote Obamacare refuse to live under it themselves. That’s right, Congress won a waiver from Obamacare.

    House Republicans first voted to fund all of government — except Obamacare. Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.

    Then the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but merely delay the implementation of Obamacare for one year. Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it.

    Finally, the Republicans voted to fully fund the government, but added a requirement that everyone live under Obamacare. No more special waivers for Congress and their staff, and no waivers for big business without the same waivers for individuals.

    Obama refused to negotiate and Senate Democrats refused to pass it

  2. Chas,

    You say you’ll change the constitution
    Well, you know
    We all want to change your head
    You tell me it’s the institution
    Well, you know
    You better free you mind instead
    But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
    You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

  3. Only a Tyrannical Dictator says I will Not Negotiate unless they do what I say. O is treating the American people like a stepfather that is beating a women’s children until she does exactly what he says and then he tells her children if your mother would just do what I say without concessions then I will stop beating you.

  4. Riddle me this Batman – If the Park Service doesn’t have the funding to keep open-air parks and monuments OPEN (armed guards everywhere were not necessary before the shutdown) then where did they find the resources to put these armed guards everywhere during the shutdown?

  5. Senator Reid and Barack Obama, please stop holding this country hostage! The House of Representatives, fulfilling their Constitutional mandate has been passing funding bills and sending them to the senate. Reid, under orders from Obama (and we thought he worked for the people of Nevada) has refused to bring a single appropriations bill up for a vote. Reid and Obama are insisting on a pork laden omnibus spending bill and zero debt limit. This is absolutely irresponsible.

    Reid has refused to submit a Senate budget since Obama was inaugurated (in violation of the Constitution) and will not consider anything other than a blank check. Perhaps Senator Reid needs to be reminded that all appropriations originate in the House, not the Senate. Maybe some of his fans and followers need to be reminded of this as well.

  6. Speaker Bohener, at least put up a clean CR to the floor so your OWN party can vote on it. My goodness.

    This is beyond criminally negligent at this point and during economic recovery what you are doing is nothing shy of treasonous.

    Congress has a fiduciary and judicial obligation to pay the bills for the laws they have passed, it is really quite simple.

    Stop the d@mn games.

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