As our elected officials in Washington D.C. continue to fight back and forth over what will and will not be included in the new federal budget, our government is dangerously close to another federal shutdown.

The last time the government was shutdown was back in 2013 and that closure lasted just over 2 weeks.  Since that time, congress has been able to put in place provisions to keep essential government services available to the public and not close every office, or public facility, including parks and monuments should the government close it's doors.

Some federal agencies would keep working, like the US Post office, Congress and the IRS.  But they would do so through unpaid work furloughs. Although following the last shutdown all employees eventually received their back pay to compensate them for their time worked.

Here in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National park are big tourist attractions and shutting down park services for a week or more had large repercussions to our tourism industry back in 2013.  During the last government shutdown national parks and monuments were closed to the public which brought a huge public outcry.  Frustrated tourists even pushed aside barriers and entered places like Yellowstone even though signs notified that the park was closed.

Fortunately, after the last government shutdown, the US Department of the Interior was able to get legislators to agree to provide continued access for tourists should a shutdown occur in the future.  Should the government shutdown following this weekend, Yellowstone National Park would still provide minimal services, but try to keep the park as "accessible as possible" to tourists.

Although Yellowstone National Park along with other National Parks and Monuments would remain open to visitors, staffing and regular maintenance operations might not be available.  Meaning roads would remain open, but tours, full service campgrounds, gift shops, etc. would be closed.

For more info on which federal services will continue to operate and find out which ones would be closed on Monday should the shutdown begin - Click Here.

But at least our government learned something from the last shutdown.  Lets hope they can find common ground over the weekend and keep it from happening once again.

Source:  NPR


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