RED ROCK CANYON, Nev. – As of now there’s nobody to take out the trash, clean up the bathrooms, check people in or out of campsites or staff the visitor centers on federally managed public lands in Nevada as a result of the ongoing federal government partial shutdown.
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The stalemate in Washington is affecting sites such as Red Rock Canyon, Gold Butte and Tule Springs Fossil Beds national monuments, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which still are open but with greatly reduced services.
Jaina Moan, one of the biggest supporters of Gold Butte, says a lot of behind-the-scenes work also has ground to a halt.
“Restoration activities, patrols to support wilderness areas, and there are applications for environmental impact statements that need analysis that aren’t getting done,” she points out. “It’s just a whole host of details that I don’t think the public sees that are just not going to happen now.”
A sign posted at the entrance to Red Rocks Canyon advises visitors to use extreme caution, because Bureau of Land Management employees won’t be there to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance or emergency response.
Go to the Red Rocks, Lake Mead and Gold Butte websites and you’ll see a banner at the top with a link to the BLM’s shutdown contingency plan, which states that BLM law enforcement will remain on the job.
President Donald Trump has said he wants funding for a border wall with Mexico before he’ll sign a bill to reopen the government.
Moan says she feels badly for the 70 percent of BLM employees who are furloughed.
“It’s frustrating,” she states. “Imagine having a job and being told that you can’t do that job, or being told to do it and you aren’t going to get paid, and not knowing when you’re going to get paid.”
The BLM shutdown plan also states that the agency will not be able to issue permits or conduct education programs until the funding starts flowing again.