Redwood National Park rangers began blocking off park facilities off Enderts Beach Road on Wednesday, frustrating out-of-town park visitors and locals alike.
A National Park Service ranger mans a roadblock on Enderts Beach Road on Friday. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Andy White, of San Francisco, wanted to walk from the Nickel Creek Trailhead to the old Redwood Highway section of the Coastal Trail, but he was stopped by three park authorities Friday afternoon who said the area was closed due to the federal government shutdown.
“I’m kind of confused by the big picture,” said White, who like many American citizens was at a loss for why Congress has not passed a budget.
The rangers are not currently being paid to block tourists from public resources because like 2,100 other National Park Service employees that provide essential services (law enforcement, fire, EMS) they are being asked to personally record their hours for later submission. There’s no guarantee that Congress will fund their work during the shutdown once a federal budget is passed.
Visitors to Redwood National and State Parks have the benefit of being able to still see the redwoods in Jed Smith, Del Norte Coast or Prairie Creek state parks, which have remained open. But the geysers of Yellowstone and other national park treasures might have to wait until next year’s family vacation or student field trip.
In Redwood National Park, education programs for 115 school children were cancelled this week alone. There are 102 employees on furlough because of the shutdown in Redwood National Park, while seven law enforcement employees and the water systems operator have been asked to stay on board, hoping they get paid eventually, and sometimes send tourists packing.