Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott told reporters Tuesday morning that the decision to close down the park has been a “crushing experience” for park employees and administrators. She says the directive from Washington has been to close the entire park, facilities, roads, trails, river access and turn-outs along the highway. Scott says the closures are devastating to morale, it isn’t something that any member of the National Park Service “is wired” to do. Moreover, Scott says, “It is in our nature to welcome and educate and bring visitors into parks. This is a crushing experience to be put on furlough and told to not work and not volunteer.” Scott says that employees have been prohibited from volunteering to help keep park features available during this time. Scott adds that some visitors have been quite confrontational as a result of the shut-down. While the park roads are closed, Scott says private landowners in Pacific Creek, Poker Flats and Concessioners will be permitted in and those needing to access national forest hunt locations will be allowed through the Moran Entrance when they show a valid hunting tag. 519 campsites and rooms were still occupied Tuesday and those visitors were asked to leave. Scott says altogether 82% of its current 240-employee staff is being furloughed while emergency staff will be kept on.
For more information on park closures, visit http://www.doi.gov/index.cfm