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The government shut down's impact on Saguaro National Park

The government shut down's impact on Saguaro National Park
Posted at 6:48 PM, Dec 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-23 00:10:55-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — The government shut down is effecting millions of government workers. The Saguaro National Park is feeling the impact of the government shutting down, along with other national parks across the country that are closing its services and handing out furloughs to its employees. For those of you planning on visiting during your winter break, here are some changes you need to know of for the time being.

"When you arrive at the park, both visitor centers will be closed. This is because due to the lapse of appropriation, we do not have money to pay for staff, so any facility that requires staff presence is going to be closed," said Andy L. Fisher, a park ranger at Saguaro National Park.

That includes the contact station, the education building and programs, and ranger-guided walks and hikes.

"If you come out to one of the trail heads and plan on going for a hike, we're not go to close the trail heads. We're not going to chase you off the trails, the roads are going to continue to be open," said Fisher.

But the major thing to know, if you do want to visit the park, during this shut down, the emergency response staff will not be at its usual staffing-levels.

"So our responses to anything, should it go sideways, is going to be delayed. So really take care of yourself when you come out," said Fisher.

The park's custodial staff has also been furloughed.

"If you are using one of our picnic areas, if you can remember to just pack your trash back out with you, that will help us keep those areas accessible longer while the government shut down is occurring," said Fisher.