NPS preparing for possible
shutdown that will close seashore
National Park Service is preparing for a possible shutdown of
government services tonight — Friday, April 8, at midnight.
There has been only one brief public comment on the shutdown from the
Park Service’s Outer Banks Group, which includes the Cape Hatteras
National Seashore, the Wright Brothers National Monument, and Fort
"The National Park Service remains hopeful that there will not be a
government shutdown," according to a statement released Wednesday
afternoon. “However, as President Obama stated, in the unfortunate
event there is a shutdown, the National Park System will be closed."
This afternoon, Cyndy Holda, public affairs specialist for the Outer
Banks Group, said she had no more information on what exactly will be
shut down if Congress does not reach agreement on the current year
budget or an extension of the series of continuing resolutions that
have kept the government operating for the past six months.
At a minimum, Park Service Visitor Centers would be shut down and any
events scheduled in the park would be cancelled. Campgrounds also would
Though some Park Service law enforcement rangers are deemed essential
personnel and will continue to work, seashore beaches will be
During the last government shutdown in 1995, all ramps to the seashore
beaches were closed and chained.
That will probably happen tomorrow if there is not an agreement, but
pedestrians may still be allowed on the beach.
Also unclear is whether the park’s natural resource staff will continue
to monitor nesting piping plovers and other shorebirds.
Holda said that she has had “hundreds” of phone calls from folks
wondering if the beaches and park will be open, but had nothing to tell
A park shutdown – and especially a shutdown of the beaches – could take
a toll on Hatteras and Ocracoke island businesses, which gearing up for
an influx of tourists for the Easter holidays. And depending on how
long the shutdown lasts, it could affect the opening day of the Cape
Hatteras Lighthouse next Friday, April 15.
On the upper beaches, plans are already being made for events that are
scheduled this weekend at the Wright Brothers National Monument.
The Flying Pirate half marathon and First Flight 5 K race are planned
for the weekend as a fundraiser for Outer Banks Relief. Plans
have already been made to move the staging area for the 5K on Saturday
from Wright Brothers to First Flight High School. The Sunday
marathon could also be affected.
The Lost Colony folks have spent the day scrambling to find an
alternative location for its annual fundraising gala, “Fire and Ice,”
scheduled to Saturday night at the First Flight Pavilion. In
of a shutdown, it will be moved to Pamlico Jack’s, according to Shannon
Manno, Lost Colony marketing director.
If the park is closed, The Island Free Press will have coverage all