National Parks, Historic Sites Closed by Government Shutdown

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LITTLE ROCK, AR – National parks and historic sites are being closed by the government shutdown.

Those in Arkansas include: Arkansas Post National Memorial, Buffalo National River, Fort Smith National Historic Site, Hot Springs National Park, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Pea Ridge National Military Park, President Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site (Hope), Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Further details on closure of Buffalo National River:
Due to the government shutdown, the National Park Radio concert planned for Saturday, October 5th at Steel Creek will be rescheduled. The shutdown will impact park visitors in a number of ways:
  • Buffalo National River, along with all national parks, will be closed and secured.
  • Visitor centers and other facilities, including campgrounds, will be closed.
  • Education programs and special events will be canceled.
  • Permits for special events will be rescinded.
  • Visitors staying in cabins and campgrounds will be notified of the closure and given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements and leave the park.
Buffalo National River has a total of 91 employees at the present time. Of these, only about 20 will remain on duty as essential for the shutdown, all others are furloughed. Non-furloughed employees include:  dispatch, law enforcement, and maintenance.  Furloughed employees include all administration, resources & education, and the remainder of the maintenance staff.

Law enforcement and emergency dispatch service will continue throughout the shutdown. During this period visitors are not permitted in the park, including hunters, hikers, and horseback riders. As soon as the park receives notice that the shutdown has been rescinded these restrictions will be lifted. Even if the shutdown is rescinded by the end of the week, the Steel Creek concert will be rescheduled to permit us to make the necessary plans for a safe and enjoyable event.

On the National Park Service website, regular information has been replaced with a simple white page that reads: “Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating,” and directs web visitors to the Interior Department’s website.

National Park Service shutdown procedures:

Day use visitors will be instructed to leave the park immediately as part of Phase 1 closures. Visitors utilizing overnight concession accommodations and campgrounds will be notified to make alternate arrangements and depart the park as part of Phase 2. Wherever possible, park roads will be closed and access will be denied. National and regional offices and support centers will be closed and secured, except where they are needed to support excepted personnel. These steps will be enacted as quickly as
possible while still ensuring visitor and employee safety as well as the integrity of park resources. The shutdown process will take place in two phases. Phase 1 includes all activities to notify the public of the closure, secure government records and property, and begin winding down operations to essential activities only.

Phase 1 will take place over a day and a half.

Phase 2 will be initiated by the Director and includes the complete shutdown of all concession facilities and commercial visitor services. Overnight visitors will be given two days to make alternate arrangements and depart the parks. At the end of Phase 2 operations are expected to be at the minimum levels defined below. The entire closure process – both phases – will be completed within four days.

The National Park Service will furlough 21,379 employees while keeping 3,266 excepted workers on the job.

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