The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing for the closure of all Corps-operated campgrounds and day-use parks nationwide beginning Saturday (April 9), if the potential shutdown of the federal government goes into effect. Affected recreation areas would not reopen until after the shutdown is lifted.
Corps parks leased to partner agencies and concessionaires will remain open, but cannot be supported by the Corps while the shutdown is in place, according to a news release.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers understands the impact that these actions might have on the American recreating public if we are required to close our recreation areas,” said Michael G. Ensch, Chief of Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “We know that this is a time of year when many vacationing families are using or planning to use Corps recreation facilities, and we will reopen them for public use and enjoyment as quickly as possible.”
Beginning Saturday and continuing through the end of the shutdown, if it goes into effect, no new visitors will be allowed into, or reservations accepted for, Corps recreation facilities. Campers who are on site prior to the shutdown going into effect will be required to vacate campgrounds not later than 8 p.m. Sunday.
In the event of a shutdown, customers may cancel their reservations for a full refund. Customers required to vacate campsites early will receive a partial refund for any unused portion of their reservations. As an alternative, customers may elect to leave reservations open for possible use after the shutdown is lifted. Customers may request a partial refund for any unused portion of their reservation due to the shutdown. To request a refund please contact the reservation customer service at (888) 448-1474. If the customer chooses to do nothing, the reservation service will automatically cancel reservations after their departure date during the shutdown period.
The Corps will post current information on the closure and reopening of facilities on the Headquarters website at www.usace.army.mil and locally on Corps District’s websites.
RVers and others already staying at campgrounds and National Park Service accommodations will be given 48 hours to move out should the federal government shut down tonight, the RV News Service reported today (April 8), citing the about.com website.
If there is a federal shutdown, not only will visits to parks themselves be curtailed, even planning for future visits will go on hold, the news service reported.
RV News Service staff interviewed a National Park Service (NPS) spokeswoman this morning and were told that parks will definitely close their gates if there is a federal shutdown. Additionally, all NPS operated websites will go dark, as website and park access are both considered “non emergency services,” which are the only services available should federal operations close up.
“The spokeswoman also said that an official media release has not yet been made available, and it’s not even clear when one will be forthcoming. Nevertheless, it is clear that if the looming shutdown becomes reality, it will put a kibosh on any plans for the annual celebration of parks, National Park Week. While many look forward to the annual celebration, which would include free access to the parks from April 16 through the 24th, a shutdown will shutout any free access,” the news service stated.
Meanwhile, just announced today, the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and the Japanese Street Festival, scheduled to take place on Saturday in Washington, D.C., will not be canceled, the about.com website reported. The DC police have agreed to support these popular scheduled events. The parade route will be altered, affecting some of the grandstand viewing areas and ticketholders. More information to be announced. The status of the Blossom Kite Festival will still be determined in the event of a government shutdown.