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Government Shutdown and National Park Viewing

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#1 StrangeDejavu

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Posted 30 September 2013 - 11:49 PM

As many of you have heard, Congress failed to reach an agreement to fund federal agencies. One of the unfortunate areas hit by this is the closing of National Parks, which many people use as their dark sky sites. For those of you who view at the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and so on -- where do you plan to observe from now that these places will turn visitors away? Do you have other local dark sky sites or will you simply be sticking to the backyard? I'm no where near a national park, so I wont be affected by this. However, I know of a few fellow CN Floridian's who rely on the Everglades to get some great, dark skies; this news will no doubt be a damper on their viewing. :undecided:

#2 seawolfe

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 07:25 AM

Well, I hope that the government (meaning Congress - both houses- and the President) get their act together soon. I have a dark sky outing planned next week at Lassen Volcanic Nat'l Park in mid week. I'd certainly hate to get all of this planning wasted because of party bickering. :flame: :rant:

#3 Widespread

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:18 AM

[...]However, I know of a few fellow CN Floridian's who rely on the Everglades to get some great, dark skies; this news will no doubt be a damper on their viewing. :undecided:


Yeah, I could see how that would be inconvenient for the folks living way down south. I suppose they'll have to go further north, to Area 51 .

I live about 30 minutes from Mammoth Cave N.P., which will also be closed except for through roads.

David

#4 cildarith

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:20 AM

:flame: :rant:


Let's have no more of that, please. There are many places on the internet to rant about the shortcomings of government. Cloudy Nights is not one of those places.

#5 seawolfe

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:27 AM

Golly! :confused: :tonofbricks:

All I was doing was responding that I hoped that this all gets fixed as I was hoping to do some dark sky viewing at Lassen.

Did I step on someone's toes?? :o :confused:

#6 oldtimer

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 09:36 AM

You are not allowed to even get anywhere close!

#7 BigC

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:19 AM

Business opportunity for owners of large land parcels in dark area :rent viewing spots to city astronomers.

#8 wavecloud

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 11:37 AM

They should make more national parks :jump:

#9 Chris Greene

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 11:57 AM

This is an inconvenience for very few people for what will be a very short time.

There are countless places other than national parks that have dark skies.

Let's be real here.

#10 dpwoos

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 12:07 PM

:flame: :rant:


Let's have no more of that, please. There are many places on the internet to rant about the shortcomings of government. Cloudy Nights is not one of those places.


What does the red color mean? Is it political?

#11 seawolfe

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:21 PM

The only "political" part about the original statement was that I've been planning this trip for a long time and it is VERY inconvenient to me that this squabble is affecting the National Park System where other parts of the government still work...aka the Postal Service for example.

Still, like Mt. Rainier, the major road through Lassen Volcanic is a major highway and might be open to traffic as is the state routes through Mt. Rainier.

If I had intended to rant on political ideals, it wouldn't be here. So the mad flames were at the petty politics messing with my vacation plans and nothing else.

#12 dpwoos

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:34 PM

Sorry, I meant the red text that someone else used.

#13 Jay_Bird

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 03:44 PM

I've been snowed out of higher elevation parks in UT and WY for a day in early or summer or early fall after flying for the 'big vacation' of a given year, but that's usually a short delay for sun and snowplow to remedy -- so my sympathies with those affected by longer closures now.

I have to drive a highway over a low pass to get home, there are no secondary surface street routes.

Alternate route # 1 is + 10 miles and + 15 minutes through National Park Service administered land, which may now be closed per today's newspaper - I need to check so I know for sure. I use that route maybe twice a year when accidents close the US route, and it was more critical when kids were smaller, but still may impact me since alternate route # 2 is + 80 miles and +1.5-2 hours. My primary concern is being able as a parent to deal with unexpected events. I use the same road to access closest darker skies too, OK that's an inconvenience of lower priority.

#14 wavecloud

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 04:28 PM

Uhoh. I hope this doesn't land out with national parks no longer being properly protected :scared:

#15 mogur

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 07:11 PM

Not sure I understand this. The National Parks are being closed? Because there's no money to man them? If so who is enforcing the closures, and how are THEY being paid?

#16 Dan Watt

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:01 PM

I had heard that Joshua Tree kept a skeleton crew on hand for fire and security response but they weren't being paid. Maybe they can get some sort of back pay once this is over?

I was in Joshua Tree last weekend and I'm glad I made it, no idea how long this will last. I planned on going to Joshua Tree this weekend but I guess that probably won't happen. There is plenty of BLM land out there and I've got a 4x4 but going to an established campground can be a bit more convenient.

I was planning on taking a week off next month to spend in Death Valley observing, imaging and off roading and if it is still closed I'm going to be pretty upset. I haven't taken a real vacation in several years and I've been looking forward to this for months.

#17 wavecloud

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:36 PM

How annoying :rant:
Well fortunateley for me I live in Canada:)

#18 davebuechler

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:40 PM

The roads may be closed but the land is not. These are our parks.

#19 Seldom

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 08:45 PM

Alternate route # 1 is + 10 miles and + 15 minutes through National Park Service administered land, which may now be closed per today's newspaper -


Route 9 through the Zion Tunnel is open, but side roads are all blocked. Don't know if that's the one you were referring to, but it fits your description.

#20 Skylook123

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Posted 01 October 2013 - 10:51 PM

As a member of the Grand Canyon Association, I received this email today from GCA with the rules and operating conditions for Grand Canyon National Park:

October 1, 2013

Dear Grand Canyon Association Friends,

This morning, due to the government shutdown, all of the nation's 401 National Parks have been closed, including Grand Canyon National Park.

What does this mean?

Visitors with overnight accommodations will be given 48 hours to make other arrangements and leave the park.

Authorities will be posted at Grand Canyon entrance gates to notify visitors that the park is closed.

Highway 64 will remain open for through traffic; however, overlooks and pullouts are blocked off.

Employees of Grand Canyon National Park who were told to show up to work as scheduled on Tuesday now will have four hours to secure files and property, and leave a voicemail saying they'll be out of the office indefinitely.

Law enforcement, security and health officials will stay on the job to carry out the shutdown over four days.

Trails, campgrounds and hotels will be cleared, but park officials won't be scouring the entire 1.2 million-acre park looking for people. Visitors already hiking or camping in the backcountry or taking rafting trips on the Colorado River will be able to complete their trips. Helicopter tours also will continue.

Grand Canyon Association will still be operating as a private non-profit entity and is committed to continuing our mission of preserving and protecting Grand Canyon National Park through this shutdown.

GCA Main offices will be open and operating.

Grand Canyon Association Park stores will be closed through the shutdown.

Grand Canyon Field Institute classes are being cancelled with full tuition refunds on a case by case basis during the shutdown.

GCA online store will be up and running - https://www.grandcan...op/online-store



#21 seawolfe

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 12:32 AM

I find it rather funny that the Grand Canyon actually "blocks" off outlooks and pullouts. So will traffic snarl now that people who want to look will just slow down or stop in the road to take a look at the scenery?

Can the NPS block those who want to use the park for night observation?

#22 Widespread

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:08 AM

The roads may be closed but the land is not. These are our parks.


Parks are public land, but they are protected. Without personnel to issue permits and oversee/regulate usage (i.e. ensure protection), I guess the only way to protect the park is to prohibit usage.

Then again, despite the tourist lock-out, most oil, gas and mining operations are apparently continuing during the government shutdown. So I guess they're worried about what tourists would do to the land without adequate supervision, but not what the energy companies might do. :confused:

David

#23 wavecloud

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:16 AM

Energy companies are a lot worse than tourists... come see Alberta :bawling:

#24 StrangeDejavu

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:33 AM

There are countless places other than national parks that have dark skies.

Let's be real here.


The Everglades is the only blue zone available to Floridians in the central and southern parts of the state. Beyond this, the "darkest" options we have are green and yellow zones. While it's not the end of the world, it's definitely an inconvenience.

#25 dpippel

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Posted 02 October 2013 - 10:54 AM

What about Big Cypress?






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