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Government shutdown affects Death Valley areas

Despite the partial federal government shutdown, now in its first week, large numbers of people are still visiting Death Valley National Park in spite of limited services at present.

As stated in a news release, most roads and hiking areas in Death Valley National Park remain accessible to the public, however, emergency and rescue services are limited, while two areas, Salt Creek and Natural Bridge, have been closed for resource protection.

“Due to the lapse in federal appropriations, the National Park Service is not providing visitor services such as trash collection, restrooms, facility maintenance, or public information,” the release noted. “Due to the lack of services, visitors are advised to use extreme caution when entering the park. Visitors are also asked to take trash with them and help keep their park clean.”

Park officials also noted that the winter holidays are one of the busiest times in Death Valley.

“Parking lots at popular destinations such as Zabriskie Point, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and Badwater are overflowing with cars,” according to the release. “By the end of Sunday, two days into the shutdown, piles of trash surrounded trash cans.

Additionally, the National Park Service will not be providing services for NPS-operated campgrounds, including maintenance, janitorial, bathrooms, with check-in and check-out, along with reservations, however, visitors in NPS-operated campgrounds will not be asked to leave unless safety concerns require such action.

“Visitors holding campground reservations should be aware that there is no guarantee their reserved campsite will be ready and available should they arrive during a government shutdown,” the release stated. “The Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Resort, and Panamint Springs Resort are privately operated and are remaining fully open with lodging, camping, fuel, and restaurants available.

For updates on the shutdown, visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com, on Twitter: @pvtimes

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