1st of October 2013. The U.S. Federal Government shut down due to inability to settle on funding. All federal agencies were closed or will be closed by the next couple of days, including all 401 National Parks. About 800,000 federal employees will be left in limbo with their jobs, and about 21,000 of those are from the National Park Service.
It also, just so happens to be Yosemite National Park's 123rd birthday, 1st of October 1890. The first government shutdown that I will actually feel has shutdown my first ever visited national park. I love the Google doodle today in honor of Yosemite, but felt sad once you click on it, it takes you to all the news links about closing off many of the country's national parks, monuments and the offices/ information centers of the national forests.
My twitter feed today was filled with alerts from different accounts of national parks, forests and monuments that they will be left unattended and will not be updated until the federal employees get back to work. I felt bewildered. First, I never knew a whole government can actually shutdown. Second, I like most of the twitter accounts of those federal lands. It was the only branch of the government I can actually directly communicate with, and get a straight up answer on an inquiry. It was the only branch of government that I, personally felt, was working with the public. Plus, I have never encountered any randomly annoyed park ranger, a federal employee, like those one would find in some other agencies (*cough dmv* *cough post office*). Unless of course you've disrespected the land that a lot of us are passionate about. National Park Service folks seem to always be happy and eager to help you out.
Our fall trip Sequoia is on hold. Grateful we're not that far from it and there are options available while we wait for it to re-open. It is most unfortunate though to those coming from all over the world and finding out their destination has been closed off, without a heads up.
Hope the federal government opens up soon. Can't wait till we can flash our annual park pass again.