A midnight deadline to avert a shutdown passed Monday night (Sept. 30) and the National Park Service was preparing to put a “Closed” sign around America’s national treasures.
As reported by Fox News, Congress missed its deadline to keep the government running, and the National Park Services’ contingency plan states in the event of a shutdown all activities at the parks, except for necessary emergency services, would be immediately suspended and the parks would be closed indefinitely.
Not only would the public be unable to enter the parks, visitors currently camping or staying in a national park would be ordered to leave within two days and all roads leading to the parks would be closed.
Additionally, officials told Fox News the National Park Police in Washington plan to barricade all monuments. In the case of open-air monuments that have no physical barrier, such as the World War II memorial in downtown D.C., the police would have to go to extra effort and expense to create one to keep the public out.
In a statement at the White House press room Monday evening, President Obama cited the shuttering of monuments as one of the effects of the shutdown that will have a palpable impact on Americans.
“Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed,” he said. “And of course the communities and small business that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck.”
The shutdown is also expected to have a huge effect on thousands of National Park Services employees, with staffing cut to the “very minimum” necessary. Over 21,000 employees in parks nationwide would be furloughed.