Confused about what happens in NPs during a government shutdown? Here’s a good guide from ex-ranger
During a government shutdown—when Congress fails to pass a budget that keeps large parts of the government running—rangers everywhere chain the gates of their national parks. The usually welcoming visitor centers shutter their doors. Campgrounds go unpatrolled. Bathrooms go uncleaned.
There have been 12 such shutdowns since 1981, and there’s been little ambiguity about these strict closures. But the early 2018 shutdown brought a new dose of uncertainty to a once straightforward process. Just before the January furlough, the Trump administration announced that from now on national park sites—a total of 417 parks, monuments, battlefields, and so on—should now try and stay open during a shutdown, especially those in the “open air” (as opposed to museums).