Federal shutdown affects national parks, forests | RecordCourier.com

Federal shutdown affects national parks, forests

Staff Reports

The government shutdown did what the third largest fire in California history couldn’t do … shut down Yosemite National Park.

The park, whose 123rd birthday Google celebrated on Tuesday, is closed along with all other national parks.

The National Park Service isn’t the only federal agency affected by the shutdown, which went into effect on Tuesday.

All U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and private concessionaires at Lake Tahoe are being shut down, meaning that tourist attractions including the MS Dixie won’t be operating until the budget crisis is solved.

“This will likely have a major impact on tourism at Lake Tahoe in the short term,” County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said.

He said local government and the private sector will work with the concessionaires to relocate some things like weddings.

“We will also be working to notify local residents, visitors and the media about the impacts, as the USFS communications staff has been furloughed,” he said.

As a result of the shutdown, essentially all services provided by the Bureau of Land Management will be suspended, with the exception of law enforcement and emergency response functions. Approximately 4,000 recreation facilities, including visitor centers, facilities, campgrounds, boat ramps and other recreation sites will be closed.

With an estimated $4.8 billion in revenues in 2012, the BLM nationally returns more than $4 for every budget dollar it receives. The BLM manages 245 million acres — more than any of the nation’s major natural resource agencies, with the smallest budget, the fewest employees, and the lowest cost.

While the BLM will maintain the minimum staffing levels required to ensure continued safe management of the nation’s energy resources, issuing new oil and gas leases and permits will cease. Limited work will continue to ensure safe operations of domestic energy supplies, including inspection and enforcement activities for oil and gas wells on federal land in Nevada

Recreation activities on BLM-managed lands will be similarly impacted. Public lands receive more than 57 million visitors every year, contributing more than $7 billion to local economies. In FY2012, Nevada received more than 7 million visitors contributing more than $547 (total funds) million to local economies.

Suspended activities will resume once Congressional approves a budget for Fiscal Year 2014.

Because the BLM website will not be maintained for the duration of the shutdown, the BLM will be re-directing to Interior’s site, where additional information will be available at http://www.DOI.gov/shutdown as well as at OPM.gov.

In Nevada, the BLM closures include all offices and facilities, which includes all recreation sites such as Red Rock Canyon, improved campgrounds such as Indian Creek, and the California National Trail Center in Elko.

The BLM Nevada will furlough 891 of its approximate 927 employees during the funding lapse. After the initial shutdown procedures are completed, the BLM Nevada will maintain a total of 36 employees.