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Limited access to Washington, Oregon national parks after government shutdown

The lapse in federal funding prompted national Parks in Washington and Oregon to close buildings and scheduled activities.

The public will have limited access to Mount Rainier, Olympic, and Crater Lake national parks due to the government shutdown.

The lapse in federal funding prompted Olympic National Park to close all visitor centers, contact stations, and permit desks. Crater Lake managers closed the visitor’s center and canceled ranger-guided snowshoe trips. Mount Rainier closed its road to Paradise, a popular winter recreation destination.

Most Olympic National Park roads and campgrounds were closed due to recent storm damage and will remain closed during the shutdown, according to the park's website. Hurricane Ridge Road is closed to public vehicles with no regular plowing. 

“Park visitors are asked to use extreme caution if choosing to enter the park, as personnel will not be available to provide normal levels of assistance and emergency response,” a statement on the Olympic and Mount Rainier national parks websites read.

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Officials said they will try to keep Crater Lake's south rim road open as much as possible and the Rim Cafe will be open on a limited basis. But visitors need to be aware that search and rescue and other emergency operations will be limited, park superintendent Craig Ackerman said.

When the south rim road is open, admission to Crater Lake will be free during the shutdown. 

In general, most national parks and monuments will have no services, messages indicated.

The federal government shutdown will impact the over 400 national parks and monuments in different ways, said the National Park Foundation. 

“For most parks, there will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services, such as restrooms, trash collection, facilities, or road maintenance,” said a note posted on most national park and monument websites.

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"This visitor's center is closed," said a phone message at Crater Lake. "And unfortunately, we've not been authorized to provide any further information about what may or may not be open in the park at this time."  

At Mount Rainier, a message said “To the extent possible, vehicle access will continue to be provided from the Nisqually entrance to Longmire, but not to Paradise. Entry during the federal shutdown is at visitors’ sole risk.”

Just south of the Oregon and California state line, the Redwood National and State Park system said "some national park areas within Redwood National and State Parks are accessible; however access may change without notice, and there are no NPS-provided services." 

What appears most likely — and has happened in the past — is that national park buildings, exhibits and visitor’s centers will be closed while assets such as trails could remain open to access.