[UPDATE: Congress and President Biden passed a temporary funding bill to keep federal agencies open late Saturday night.]
As the Saturday night deadline to make a deal approaches, the Bay Area is bracing for potential disruptions. Despite a majority in the House, Republicans have failed to reach a consensus on a short-term funding bill, leaving just one day to negotiate a compromise. This would be the 4th government shutdown in decade, according to KGO.
And some of the Bay Area’s favorite spots could face at least temporary closures or reduced access, including Yosemite, Alcatraz, and the Point Reyes National Seashore, as the Chronicle reports. (Not to mention next week’s Fleet Week schedule.)
Various federal employees and services could be impacted, including workers at passport offices, members of the United States Coast Guard, personnel at NASA Ames Research Center, and staff at federal sites like Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods, and more, as the Chronicle reports. TSA agents, airport employees, and others may also feel the effects. The closure would affect a majority of national parks across the country, with some accessible but operating with reduced services.
Some parks can’t be completely closed, like the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco and Marin County, so they would likely remain accessible but have reduced services. The 83,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area is home to the Muir Woods National Monument, the Presidio, and Alcatraz Island. (Access to public land during a shutdown depends on whether the area can normally be locked, according to KNTV.) Facilities like restrooms, parking lots, and visitor centers would be locked for as long as the shutdown continues.
A government shutdown could lead to the furlough of thousands of park rangers, impacting park safety and natural resource management. Park rangers, among millions of federal workers, would potentially lose paychecks. Federal food benefits are also up in the air, per KGO.
In preparation for a shutdown, states may fund park operations, according to the Chronicle, but the money would not be reimbursed. For instance, Utah has already reportedly allocated $5 million to keep its national parks running in case of a shutdown. It’s not clear if California will do the same.
The potential government shutdown raises concerns about public safety, access to natural resources, and economic impacts, leaving many in the Bay Area and beyond waiting.
Feature image of Alcatraz via Unsplash/Clément Falize.