Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131
April 7, 2011
National Wildlife Refuge Closures in the Advent of a Government Shutdown
"We still believe that there is the opportunity for Congress to avoid a government shutdown, but we are working to prepare for all possible scenarios," stated Mike Bryant, senior Refuge Manager for national wildlife refuges in North Carolina. "Our current guidance calls for all employees of national wildlife refuges to report to work on Monday morning as usual. If there is a shutdown, each employee will be given instructions on his or her status. Most employees will be furloughed. A few employees will be designated as 'essential' and will work during the shutdown period. These positions are primarily related to public safety - law enforcement and wildfire suppression. Again, we continue to hope there will be some sort of compromise that will allow us to continue to work."
A recent memo from the Acting Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Dan Ashe, advised, “Visitors and potential visitors to national parks, wildlife refuges, and other public lands should be advised that, in the event of a government shutdown, the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management will close and secure park, refuge and visitor facilities on public lands.
“Visitor activities that require a permit, including public events, will not be allowed or will be cancelled or postponed. Visitor centers will be closed and access to park and refuge areas denied, including Patuxent NWR, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Independence Hall, Alcatraz, and the Washington Monument. Visitors using overnight concession accommodations and campgrounds will be notified and given 48 hours to make alternate arrangements. The National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and some Bureau of Land Management roads will be closed except when they are necessary as thruways.
“Limited personnel needed to protect life and property on public lands, such as law enforcement, emergency services and firefighting personnel, will be exempted from furlough. Some administrative offices for the bureaus will be minimally staffed and many will be closed. Ordinary business of these bureaus will be extremely curtailed.
“The land management agencies will be providing additional information to the public as they finalize their contingency plans.”
If there is a government shutdown, on North Carolina national wildlife refuges specifically, the following closures and cancellations apply:
Persons interested in visiting national wildlife refuges or other federal facilities and lands are advised to continue to watch the news for further information.