Acadia National Park closing operations as shutdown continues

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Acadia National Park was in the process of closing its operations Sunday as the federal government shutdown moved toward its third day.

Much of the park will remain open to the public, but if it snows, there will be no plows to clear the roads and parking lots, hampering access, Acadia spokeswoman Christie Anastasia said Sunday.

All but 15 of the park’s 94 staff members, most of them park rangers, will be furloughed. Employees started receiving furlough papers to sign Saturday, and by Monday the furlough process should be complete, Anastasia said.

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget gave the park 72 hours to close up following the government shutdown, which started at midnight Saturday.

[Related: Senate talks fall short, shutdown extends into workweek]

Anastasia said the park will remain as accessible as possible but not everything will be open while the shutdown continues.

She said sections of the park closed off for the winter will remain closed but the open areas will stay open unless it snows. All of the restrooms will be closed.

The Blackwoods winter campground will remain open and campers may stay as long as their permits allow, but no new permits will be issued until the shutdown ends. The Schoodic Road into the Mount Desert area of the park will remain plowed to allow access to an employee who lives inside the park.

On Sunday, the park was filled with visitors, Anastasia said.

“Today is a good day for visitors because the parking lots are plowed. We are still good for skiing and walking. Folks are still out on the lakes ice fishing,” she said.

Anastasia said that while park rangers will continue to patrol, visitors to the park will be entering at their own risk. She said cellphone service is spotty inside the park.

She said more information about the shutdown will be posted on the park’s website Monday.

Catching the sunrise from atop Cadillac Mountain draws multitudes every year to Acadia National Park on Maine’s coast. Acadia National Park was in the process of closing its operations Sunday as the federal government shutdown moved toward its third day.  (Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald)

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