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Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers?
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Derek Ruhland
(DerekRuhland) - F

Locale: Southern California
Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 02:59:14 MDT Print View

I'm planning a PCT thru this summer, and I was wondering if there is anyone who is a bit more politically aware out there who might know whether or not a government shutdown might effect thru-hikers. There are national forests, national monuments, and national parks along the route, and I have heard reports that if government shuts down that people could be shut out.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 03:06:42 MDT Print View

I kind of doubt it, as long as you already have your permits. Campgrounds and other services maybe shut down for a short time. As long as you are not relying on government run support services, I would think you will be okay, but there is something I might be missing.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
this is what i read on 04/07/2011 05:43:25 MDT Print View

According to the NY Times yesterday, "If federal employees are furloughed, the National Park Service says, the national park system will be closed." I don't know about the dates of your travel, but if the US gov shuts down, it seems like there will be problems for people who want to hike through national parks.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/06/whos-in-grants-tomb-not-you-if-government-shuts-down/

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Great on 04/07/2011 05:58:19 MDT Print View

If I head over do Donohue pass into Yosemite and the park is closed then there won't be rangers to kick me out. :)

The only area I would think could be impacted are the resupply points like reds or tm. Also the shuttle from reds into mm ski would probably be closed. Could be a logistical challenge.

Does this mean they might not plow the pct through the Sierra?

Edited by gg-man on 04/07/2011 12:46:39 MDT.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 06:01:23 MDT Print View

Besides the fact campgrounds would be closed and you might need to stealth it, out here, where fire season started early, wondering if fire fighting crews will be affected?

Not many attempt to thru-hike the CDT anyways, but the last several years of El Nino probably left a lot of fuel on the ground.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 06:13:51 MDT Print View

"the last several years of El Nino probably left a lot of fuel on the ground."

As great a concern should be given to the dead forests. The forests of the world are dying. The CDT traverses huge areas of beetle killed trees that are guaranteed to produce wildfires of extreme proportions in the not distant future.

Ryan Linn
(ryan.c.linn)

Locale: Maine!
Re: Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 06:17:05 MDT Print View

"wondering if fire fighting crews will be affected?"

Yikes!

I also wonder about the AT. Probably not a huge problem since it only goes through two national parks, but it certainly could be one of those annoying instances of the outside world intruding on the hiking experience.

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
parking on 04/07/2011 06:22:29 MDT Print View

the only issue is parking, stealthing would be peaceful due to noone being there for me-i love the silence. I would just be worried about having to park say 10 miles from a trailhead because you cant get access to a park. THen facing the fact of leaving your car somewhere you wouldn't normally leave it. (theft)

I dont read the news at all(internet or otherwise) so this is a shock to me. Didn't realize such a thing was happening.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 04/07/2011 06:24:20 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers?" on 04/07/2011 06:42:58 MDT Print View

Well, there are always safety concerns, of course. ANY damage you might cause to a closed park you will be responsible for...forest fires included. You will be paying for them if you start one. Same for rescue services. Most of us don't worry about that, too much, though. Just pay strict attention to what you are doing. Stealth is stealth. Laws are laws. They have their own means of resolving themselves. Doing what you have to do on a thru-hike qualifies as an "emergency" in my book. Eating, sleeping, and doing your toilet are necessities, anytime. Laws can be set aside for such things. But, hiking through a closed park along a marked trail may be necessary rather than bushwhacking around it. Like all freedoms, you are free to ignore the law, if you also accept the responsibility for your actions. Eating other backpackers is frowned upon, though.

Sunshine Trees
(sunshinentrees) - F
last shutdown, thru-hikers were turned away on 04/07/2011 09:21:53 MDT Print View

Law enforcement and property protection are considered essential during a government shutdown, so don't expect the national parks to be simply abandoned and empty.

According to Bill Bryson, at least, during the last government shutdown wardens were posted at AT access points to Shenandoah and thru-hikers were turned away.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 09:40:20 MDT Print View

I doubt thru-hikers would be affected. They would turn away people driving in, not people walking through. Unless they have the resources to post people sitting around in the wilderness escorting hikers out.

By the way, I made 25K last year and paid more federal income taxes than General Electric. Something's not right with this picture.

Gregory Petliski
(gregpphoto) - F
Re: this is what i read on 04/07/2011 10:03:16 MDT Print View

So if its closed, that means no crowds! I would like to see them stop me from walking into yellowstone. They cant cover the mexican border, let alone the yellowstone.

@James: "Like all freedoms, you are free to ignore the law, if you also accept the responsibility for your actions." Yeah, too bad the people in charge don't have to live up to the same standard.

Edited by gregpphoto on 04/07/2011 10:05:28 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Re: Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 11:16:54 MDT Print View

Law enforcement and property protection are considered essential during a government shutdown

Don't ya think that if the above weren't true there'd be a lot less political theater going on and a lot more of what our elected officials are supposed to be doing?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 11:52:43 MDT Print View

"By the way, I made 25K last year and paid more federal income taxes than General Electric. Something's not right with this picture."

You have that right!!

One other thing we need to keep in mind is that many big companies pay a lot of money in fees, licenses, and other local/state/federal taxes; in addition to income tax. GE paid income taxes in other countries, but not here. Global companies look at the entire planet as their market place, not just the US. Tax laws allow them to pay no tax, it is not illegal. They do influence Congress and the laws and that is a problem. But so do unions and other special interest groups, and that is a problem too. The government has made taxes so difficult, that large companies have to pay millions in extra wages just to do the accounting. The whole system is in bad shape.

When the economy gets bad, people and companies reduce expenses. The government does not adjust to the loss in revenue as it should, they try to make those generating money pay even more. So now we may have a government shut down.

But if one is walking on trails, there is probably not going to be anyone to stop or cite you. If you already have a permit, then I don't think they have any reason to do so either.

The BIG problem for many hikers might be bounce boxes, if they rely on the USPS. Not even sure if a shutdown will impact the USPS.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Government shutdown - effects on thru-hikers? on 04/07/2011 12:11:34 MDT Print View

"By the way, I made 25K last year and paid more federal income taxes than General Electric. Something's not right with this picture."

I am retired and I certainly agree.

Bob, The USPS is a private company, soo, I don't believe it will be impacted.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
USPS will remain in business on 04/07/2011 12:12:54 MDT Print View

The post offices will stay open, since they are self funded. In addition, I called the Rocky Mt. NP office this morning, and asked how they would operate in the event of a shutdown. She said that all parking lots, including those at trailheads that are just outside the Park, and also (of course) the park entry points, would be closed down. A skeletal "essential" staff would remain in place. This includes emergency workers, as well as firefighters and security. She said it would be a punishable crime if one of us was caught hiking inside the Park during a shutdown. FWIW.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: USPS will remain in business on 04/07/2011 12:24:38 MDT Print View

The government still owns the USPS. Not really self-funded, I cannot remember any time they did not lose money since the reorganization.

Seems like military and federal police will have to work, but may not get paid during the shutdown.

We still have to submit our tax returns on time. Not sure if we will be issued refunds during the shutdown, but if you owe you have to pay on time.

Agencies that receive budgets in advance will continue to operate.

Agencies that are classified as essential to public health will probably continue to operate at some level.

And of course all this can change. We will probably find out this week.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: USPS will remain in business on 04/07/2011 12:51:24 MDT Print View

"Seems like military and federal police [added by Doug: and any excepted personnel, many civilian federal workers are excepted from furlough] will have to work, but may not get paid during the shutdown."

Probably won't get paid during any shut down, but would get the back pay once an appropriation is signed. They won't be working for free.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: USPS will remain in business on 04/07/2011 13:00:47 MDT Print View

Doug,

Excellent point, I did not infer differently. BUT... can you imagine the pain a private's family will face, while he is fighting in the middle east? Politics at its worse.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: USPS will remain in business on 04/07/2011 13:08:44 MDT Print View

"Excellent point, I did not infer differently. BUT... can you imagine the pain a private's family will face, while he is fighting in the middle east? Politics at its worse."

Didn't mean to infer that you inferred...... ;-)

As a matter of fact, I can, having once been a private! Of course, I can see other really bad scenarios as well. A few years ago there was quite the media hullaballoo when DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) was firing people who held security clearances because they had gotten into financial difficulties. And I'm talking about some people who had worked for the government for a few decades, not new hires.

So imagine this scenario -- someone living kinda close to the edge, who is then furloughed for a few weeks, who falls behind on their bills, which gets reported, and who then gets fired for being in financial difficulty! Financial difficulty which would not have happened if they hadn't been furloughed! Will this happen? Most likely not, but it's certainly not beyond the realm of the possible! The possible Catch-22 scenarios can boggle the mind!