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Shutdown to impact parks, USDA programs

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks have implemented plans to deal with the federal government’s partial shutdown. USDA programs will also be affected.

At Grand Teton National Park,Deputy Superintendent Gopaul Noojibail said, “Visitors will be able to access Grand Teton National Park, but should plan ahead and use caution as park staff will not be available to provide guidance or assistance. If visitors see something that jeopardizes visitor safety or park resources, call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3301.”

Grand Teton National Park’s shutdown plan includes:
Park roads will remain open if they are essential to respond to emergencies-this includes most roads that are normally maintained and open at this time of year. Access to all residences will be maintained.
Emergency response may be delayed.

Entrance stations will not be staffed.

Grooming of the Teton Park Road will continue through a partnership agreement with Grand Teton National Park Foundation. Grooming is scheduled to occur twice a week.

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center will be available during normal winter hours-6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Emergency 911 calls will be answered by Teton County Dispatch 24 hours/day.

Park website and social media sites will not be maintained.

Concessioners and Commercial Use Authorization holders may continue to provide visitor services after coordination with the park to ensure compliance with government shutdown protocols.

Access to Yellowstone National Park’s south entrance will continue, including staging and winter services available at Headwaters Lodge at Flagg Ranch in John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.

At Yellowstone National Park:
Yellowstone will remain open, however, all government-run operations and facilities are closed. Entrance stations will not be staffed.

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana, through Mammoth Hot Springs to the Northeast Entrance at Cooke City, Montana, is open to wheeled vehicle travel. Visitors can access all the commercial services along this route (including commercial services in Mammoth Hot Springs and Tower).

Visitors can also access commercial services in the interior of the park via oversnow travel (e.g. at Old Faithful). Concessioners are currently providing funding for road grooming so that oversnow access to the interior is possible.

Guided snowmobile and snowcoach trips with commercial operators will be allowed. Non-commercially guided snowmobile trips will also be allowed.

If conditions become unsafe at any time, roads and/or developed areas in the park may be closed.

Park staff will provide emergency services and law enforcement. All park regulations, including those regarding oversnow travel, are in effect as normal.

The park website and social media sites will not be maintained.

All administrative offices, including the public affairs office, will be closed until the government reopens.

At the National Elk Refuge, these services would be temporarily suspended:

The Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson, will remain closed until further notice beginning Monday, December 24. This includes the postponement of any scheduled educational programs at the facility.

General travel and area information will be available from the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce’s main office at 260 W. Broadway or their satellite location in the Home Ranch Welcome Center, located at 210 N. Cache Street.

The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce can also be reached at (307) 733-3316.

The National Elk Refuge’s web site at will not be updated in the interim and may be temporarily taken off-line. Refuge staff will not be posting to social media sites.

The following public access opportunities will be available if there is a lapse in appropriations:

Wildlife viewing sleigh rides, offered by a private contractor through the Grand Teton Association, will continue to operate as scheduled from 10:00 am through 4:00 pm daily, except for Christmas Day.

Ticket sales and shuttle bus service to the sleigh boarding area will be temporarily relocated to the Home Ranch Welcome Center, located at 210 N. Cache Street, beginning on Monday, December 24.

The Home Ranch Welcome Center, one block north of Jackson’s Town Square, is adjacent to the Town of Jackson’s Home Ranch parking lot.

More information on sleigh rides is available by calling (307) 733-0277.

Sleigh riders are encouraged to continue parking at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, two blocks north of the Home Ranch Welcome Center, and walk to the temporary sleigh ride ticket sales location. This will help alleviate congestion at the Home Ranch parking lot, which serves as one of the Town of Jackson’s primary downtown parking lots.

Additionally, the Home Ranch parking lot is served by several of Teton County’s public bus service lines.

The START bus schedule, routes, and fares can be viewed at

The Refuge Road will remain open as a travel corridor and access road to private lands. A Winter Wildlife Viewing Guide for travelers on the Refuge Road or North Highway 89/191 overlooks provides key information to minimize harm to wildlife and will also be available at the Home Ranch Welcome Center at 210 N. Cache Street.

Bison hunting on the National Elk Refuge will continue as scheduled through January 31, 2018.

Hunters will be allowed into Refuge hunt areas if they have a current permit and valid matching license.

Questions related to bison hunting can be directed to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department’s Jackson Office at 420 N. Cache Street or (307) 733-2321.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported:

The following USDA activities would not be continued and would be shut down in an orderly fashion during a government funding lapse. These activities include:

Provision of new rural development loans and grants for housing, community facilities, utilities and businesses.

All recreation sites across the U.S National Forest System, unless they are operated by external parties under a recreational special use permit.

New timber sales.

Most forest fuels reduction activities in and around communities.

NASS statistics, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, and other agricultural economic and statistical reports and projections.

Investigation of packers and stockyards related to fraudulent and anti-competitive activities.
Assistance for the control of most plant and animal pests and diseases unless funded by cooperators or other non-appropriated sources.

Research facilities except for the care for animals, plants and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research.

Provision of new grants or processing of payments for existing grants to support research, education, and extension.

ERS Commodity Outlook Reports, Data Products, research reports, staff analysis, and projections. The ERS public website would be taken offline.

Most departmental management, administrative and oversight functions, including civil rights, human resources, financial management, audit, investigative, legal and information technology activities.

Mandatory Audits (Financial Statements, FISMA, and potentially Improper Payments) will be suspended and may not be completed and released on the date mandated by law.

After the first week, farm loans and some farm payments (including direct payments, market assistance loans, market facilitation payments, and disaster assistance programs).

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