Wednesday, October 9, 2013
GRAND COULEE North-Central Washington residents and visitors are running into barricades when trying to access publicly owned land managed by federal employees.
In the wake of the partial “shutdown” of the federal government, agencies have blocked access to trails, parking lots, boat launches, parks and other public amenities.
“Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service has closed all 401 national parks, including Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area,” a release from the agency published last week said.
Visitors to Crescent Bay, for example, were greeted by barricades, even though federal employees provide minimal services at the area featuring a boat launch, vault toilet and fishing access to Lake Roosevelt. All 22 boat launches managed by the agency have been barricaded on the lake.
Campers in national parks, including North Cascades National Park west of Mazama, were also asked to leave last week and hikers told to leave.
State Highway 20 — the North Cascades Highway — remains open.
Calls to the park went unanswered and the National Park Service’s website only provided the following statement:
“Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service Web pages are not operating.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, only about 17 percent of the federal government considered non-essential has been shuttered.