Federal shutdown closes National Seashore, other U.S parks

By on October 1, 2013


The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and its grounds are closed. (NPS)

National Park Service employees will spend this morning buttoning down the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial and the Ft. Raleigh National Historic site as the federal government shutdown reaches the Outer Banks.

“The official word is that our beaches are closed to all public entry,” said Cyndy Holda, public affairs specialist with the parks service’s Outer Banks Group.

The NPS is doing what it can to minimize inconvenience to visitors who are already here for the week, Holda said.

Campers at NPS sites will have 48 hours from 6 p.m. tonight to pack up and leave if the shutdown continues.

Charter operations will also have until the end of the day Thursday to wrap things up at Oregon Inlet Fishing Center, which is a park service concession, Holda said.

By the end of the morning Tuesday, Holda and park law enforcement officers will be among the few people who will remain on the job.

Cables or barriers will be put up at off-road vehicle accesses along the seashore, and rangers will make a final sweep of the beaches to make sure they are clear.

Oct. 1 is generally considered the start of the fall fishing season, so the timing of the shutdown could not be much worse.

“It’s unfortunate because it should be a time when we would be gearing up for fall fishing,” Holda said.

The Wright memorial is also popular during the milder fall season.

“We remain hopeful that appropriations will be passed and that further inconvenience to the public can be avoided,” Holda said.

National wildlife refuges, including Alligator River and Pea Island, are also closed.

The shutdown started at midnight after Congress failed to reach an agreement to continue funding.

For more information and updates, see Irene Nolan’s story in the Island Free Press »

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