National park sites will be impacted if Congress does not agree on funding for the US government fiscal year 2014. According to the Department of the Interior, national park facilities will be shutdown and remain closed until appropriations are provided. This could occur as early as Tuesday morning, October 1, 2013.
Parks from Washington, DC, to the Arizona and on to the Pacific Coast and Hawaii will be affected, as will the hundreds of thousands of visitors with plans to visit any of the 401 sites overseen by the National Park Service.
The Department of the Interior contingency plan in case of government shutdown includes these facts of interest for potential park visitors:
What functions will cease:
- ALL parks closed and protected
- ALL facilities including visitor centers will be closed
- Education programs and special events will not go forward
- Guests in hotels and campgrounds within park sites will be notified that they have 48 hours to leave the parks
Should the shutdown occur and you have reservations at a hotel or campground inside a national park site, be sure to call the reservations desk to get the latest news and guidance for what you should do if you need to get a refund or reschedule your trip.
Hopefully, these park closures will not be necessary or they will be very short-lived.
As far as is known at the time of publishing this article, NPS.gov will remain online.
10/01/2013 update: The government shutdown has gone into effect. NPS.gov is no longer available. No date is given for the website to be brought back online.