10.1.13

Closed- The Government Shutdown and the National Conservation Lands

With the current government shutdown, many of our Friends have been asking about the immediate implications and what this means for their programmatic work and access to the National Conservation Lands.  Can you go for a hike?  What about our volunteer outing this weekend?  I’m supposed to meet with BLM staff- now what?

Facing the threat of a shutdown, the Bureau of Land Management devised a contingency plan that helps to answer some of these questions.  Generally:

  • Visitor centers and recreational facilities are closed (including campgrounds and bathrooms).  All permitted activities are canceled and/or postponed.  You may recreate/visit a non-developed area with no controlled access, but keep in mind there are no non-emergency services available.
  • All Volunteer Activities will discontinue for the duration of the shutdown. 
  • If you have a meeting with BLM staff during the shutdown it is cancelled.
  • There is no clear guidance on which roads will be closed.  In general, roads that provide access for communities and major transportation routes will remain open.
  • BLM will continue to operate law enforcement and emergency response functions.

Unfortunately, the shutdown has broader consequences than the immediate furlough of many of our friends at the BLM.  Gateway communities rely on the tourism market to sustain their local economy.  Millions of visitors flock to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area each year.  Currently, all entrances to the NCA are locked and the campground is closed.

Restoration events such as the military sponsored Make a Difference Day at Fort Ord National Monument may not take place.  The gathering of hundreds of scientists from across the nation at Ft Stanton Snowy River National Conservation Area is on the verge of being canceled.  These are just a couple examples of how this shutdown is having negative effects on the National Conservation Lands and our hard working Friends and partners.

We value our National Conservation Lands, and we respect the hardworking federal employees who manage them.  It is irresponsible for some Members of Congress to harm the public, the National Conservation Lands and the federal employees who manage them to advance a completely unrelated agenda.  We hope that Congress will remedy this situation without delay, and ask you to call your elected Representatives and let them know that you want your National Conservation Lands fully open and functional.  The Conservation Lands Foundation will continue to keep you updated on the shutdown and the National Conservation Lands.

Click Here For More Information on the BLM Contingency Plan

Posted by Danielle Murray in Blog & Videos