Thanks to a donation made by the Death Valley Natural History Association, the Furnace Creek Visitor Center reopened to the public on December 30, 2018, despite the partial federal government shutdown, now in its second week.
As stated in a media release, the Death Valley Natural History Association, a nonprofit organization, agreed to fund National Park Service employees to operate the visitor center in addition to maintaining the adjoined public restrooms until at least January 10.
“Our purpose as an organization is to serve the resources and public at Death Valley National Park,” said Executive Director David Blacker via the release. “Providing basic staffing for visitors to get initial orientation and information is at the heart of why we exist. We’re honored to partner in this time of need. In addition to the visitor center, other partner groups are also making contributions to make the park more accessible to the public.”
Additionally, the release noted that the Oasis at Death Valley, managed by Xanterra Travel Collection, has agreed to maintain four public restrooms at popular destinations.
“The Ryan Entrance Station, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, and Badwater restrooms serve thousands of visitors daily and greatly improve the visitor experience while visiting the park, while also protecting the landscape,” the release stated. “The Death Valley Lodging Company, which manages the Stovepipe Wells Resort, has also been managing and maintaining the NPS-owned Stovepipe Wells Campground.
With other National Park Service campgrounds not being serviced since the lapse in federal funding last month, the Stovepipe Wells Campground is the only park service campground with an open restroom being cleaned and stocked daily.
“In addition to our law enforcement rangers that have remained on duty, we are excited to work with amazing partners in a way that will better serve the public,” said Acting Superintendent Patrick Taylor. “The winter holidays are some of our busiest days of the year and providing basic visitor services will make everyone’s visit safer and more enjoyable.”
Visitors are also being reminded that during the government shutdown, conditions and services may change quickly and without notification.
“Lodging at private resorts and campgrounds at Panamint Springs, Stovepipe Wells, and Furnace Creek remain available, while most park service campgrounds are currently open, but not being serviced,” according to the release. “All laws and policies are applicable regardless of park service provided services.”
For more information on the Death Valley Natural History Association, visit www.dvnha.org.
For updates on the shutdown, visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.