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National Parks May NOT Be Open This Year
Old 01-31-2017, 11:33 AM   #1
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National Parks May NOT Be Open This Year

It seems that for some reason that the national parks may not be open or have very limited services this year. I've got some plans for a few trips to them in my first full-year of retirement. We've already booked a trip taking us to the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, and Coyote Butte. However, we're holding off on plans for Yosemite and Yellow Stone to see how this all plays out. We don't want to have reservations made that may not be cancellable if we can't get into the park.

National Parks

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National Park Service officials have been told to stop filling vacant permanent positions throughout the National Park System under the federal hiring freeze President Trump ordered, though it remained unclear Wednesday which, if any, seasonal positions would be granted a waiver from the freeze.

<snip>

Park Service officials were in ongoing discussions with Interior Department, Office of Personnel Management, and Office of Management and Budget authorities to determine how seasonal positions would be handled under the freeze.

"Seasonal employees are critical to the National Park Service. They help parks throughout the system provide quality and safe experiences for our visitors throughout peak visitation periods," said Mr. Crosson. "The NPS typically hires around 10,000 seasonal and other temporary employees throughout the year, with more than 8,000 of those on board during the peak summer visitation period."
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:00 PM   #2
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"For some reason..."
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:08 PM   #3
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As of now I do not care....

It is a new administration... and the current one is much different than the last one.... so it is reasonable to have a hiring freeze until he gets his heads in place and they can look at what priorities they have... things like this happen all the time... just not as public...


This will probably go away in 30 or so days... maybe less... I would not stop my planning based on your quote...
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:19 PM   #4
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so it is reasonable to have a hiring freeze until he gets his heads in place and they can look at what priorities they have
IMHO, you have it precisely backwards.
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:26 PM   #5
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:27 PM   #6
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We have a deposit on a trip to some of these parks--if the freeze is still in effect when it comes time to commit, we will cancel for sure. For us better to lose $200 than to see these in less than optimum conditions.
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:36 PM   #7
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"For some reason..."
I thought National Parks were always open. I wonder why. Maybe not enough trees as four years ago?
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
As of now I do not care....

It is a new administration... and the current one is much different than the last one.... so it is reasonable to have a hiring freeze until he gets his heads in place and they can look at what priorities they have... things like this happen all the time... just not as public...


This will probably go away in 30 or so days... maybe less... I would not stop my planning based on your quote...
Please do NOT turn this into a political discussion. This is meant as a travel advisory.

If it is resolved in 30 days then it may likely mean that the parks mostly stay open but they may be doing so with reduced staff (people will take other jobs or make other plans for the summer). That may mean reduced park hours, cleanliness, activities, etc.

Depending on the outcome I may consider other destinations instead of Yellowstone, etc. Perhaps Banff or some of the Mexican national parks.
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for bringing this to my attention. We've got a summer drive trip planned that was going to include some of the nat'l parks up in Oregon and Washington.

I wonder how the concessionaires are dealing with this - folks like Xanterra have a huge interest in having the parks open so they can charge big bucks for in-park lodging. I don't see any warnings on their websites.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:10 PM   #10
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I wouldn't cancel any plans. I worked as a historical architect in two of the major national parks you mention, and have been through this drill before, as administrations change. In fact, I've seen worse. It will be worked out.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:45 PM   #11
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" vacant permanent positions"

Considering that most employees are seasonal temporary I don't foresee that much of an affect.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:48 PM   #12
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I hope it gets worked out soon. We have been to some of the national parks and they are so beautiful. I have not seen Glacier but want to.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:57 PM   #13
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I don't see anything in the quote that supports the statement that the National Parks will not be open this year. The transition from permanent to seasonal employees has been going on, under the direction of previous administrations, for years with good results.

If and when it is announced that the 8,000 (or a substantial portion of the 8,000) seasonal employees are not to be brought back this year, then that would be cause for concern.

I support the National Park Foundation generously every year. I have not had an opportunity to officially volunteer at a national facility, but the family and I try our very best to be good guardians of these treasures while visiting them, express our appreciation to the volunteers and seasonal workers who make the parks possible and contribute financially in a substantial way.

https://www.npca.org/?gclid=CLvnq8OW...0rxb1odah825gi
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:03 PM   #14
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The transition from permanent to seasonal employees has been going on, under the direction of previous administrations, for years with good results.
what do you mean transition from permanent to seasonal? There are always permanent staff positions, and then they do the seasonal hirings every year. You can't have an 'all seasonal' NP staff, at least not with disastrous results. Not everybody in the NPS is a park ranger.
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:20 PM   #15
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I wouldn't cancel any plans. I worked as a historical architect in two of the major national parks you mention, and have been through this drill before, as administrations change. In fact, I've seen worse. It will be worked out.
Yeah, I'm not cancelling the already booked trip but I am keeping a watch on the situation. I have held off on booking the other ones though. They are planned for after the summer when kids have gone back to school and the visitor crunch will be lower so there is still time to book later. Not much different than watching and waiting on a trip to Paris when there is a threat of strike.

Since you've got personal experience, what's been the on-the-ground effect of this in the past? What will be the impact if most or a sizable number of those temporary workers can't be hired?
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Old 01-31-2017, 02:32 PM   #16
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what do you mean transition from permanent to seasonal?
The number of seasonal workers has been increasing (VS permanent employees) by my observation. Do you know otherwise?
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There are always permanent staff positions, and then they do the seasonal hirings every year. You can't have an 'all seasonal' NP staff, at least not with disastrous results.
A blend of seasonal and permanent employees plus volunteers seems to work out.
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Not everybody in the NPS is a park ranger.
I'm missing your point. Who said that? I don't see it in my or any other of the posts.

Here is some additional info for ya..... And, again, I encourage all to get involved. Give generously of your time and money (via the National Park Foundation or other non-profit, pro-park group) and volunteer whenever you have the chance.

Our National Parks are much more than public resorts for FIRE'd geezers to visit on the cheap!

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Old 01-31-2017, 04:10 PM   #17
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This is an interesting thread about national parks and travel. Let's keep the discussion focused on the parks, travel plans, and options we have, and avoid that other stuff.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:33 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I thought National Parks were always open. I wonder why. Maybe not enough trees as four years ago?


Nope. I bought a years pass back in 2013 and they shut down the parks the next day.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:06 PM   #19
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Nope. I bought a years pass back in 2013 and they shut down the parks the next day.
Talk about bad timing .
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:08 PM   #20
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Nope. I bought a years pass back in 2013 and they shut down the parks the next day.
Did you ask for a refund?
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