By Nathan Ham
As the government shutdown by President Donald Trump enters 2019, federal parks such as the Blue Ridge Parkway remain open, however bathrooms, visitor’s centers and museums along the route will remain closed until the government resumes operation.
Parks all across the country are seeing trash pile up from visitors and campers while all non-essential personnel remain out of the job and others are being forced to work without pay.
Most of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Watauga, Ashe and Alleghany counties is closed due to the previous snowstorm that came through and dropped anywhere between 12 and 24 inches of snow on the road. Those parts will not reopen until the government shutdown is over because crews are unavailable to go out and make sure road conditions are safe. According to the Blue Ridge Parkway road closure map, the Parkway from Bamboo Road at mile marker 285 all the way through into Virginia at mile marker 202 near the town of Cana is closed under further notice due to snow and ice on the road. The Parkway south from Bamboo Road through Aho and Blowing Rock to mile marker 305 is currently open. Click here to see current closures: Parkway Road Closures
“If visiting the Parkway during the government shutdown, use extreme caution. Rangers, emergency services, bathrooms and trash collection are unavailable. Please pack out your rash and dial 911 in case of emergency,” said a statement on the Blue Ridge Parkway website.
The Blue Ridge Parkway extends 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia, from the Cherokee Reservation in southwest North Carolina to Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro, Virginia.
Other parks are dealing with trash and no staff members on site, including Yosemite National Park in California and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Numerous other news outlets have said that in addition to bathrooms being shuttered and trash piling up, several areas inside national parks have been vandalized. Some parks have even closed all together since there was no park service staff available to work.
Blue Ride Parkway closures (According to the BRP road closure map)
Start to MM 16 – Closed
MM 16 to MM 27 – Open
MM 27 to MM 86 – Closed
MM 86 to MM 121 – Open
MM 121 to MM 167 – Closed
MM 167 to MM 202 – Open
MM 202 to MM 285 – Closed
MM 285 to MM 305 – Open
MM 305 to MM 325 – Closed
MM 325 to MM 330 – Open with caution advisory
MM 330 to MM 342 – Closed
MM 342 to MM 355 – Open
MM 355 to MM 382 – Closed
MM 382 to MM 402 – Open
MM 402 to MM 469 (end) – Closed