Shutdown impacts region; federal employees, others feel the pain
October 1, 2013 —
It is not business as usual in the Upper Delaware Valley as impacts from the shutdown of the federal government are felt. Active employees of the National Park Service (NPS) unit that serves the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River have been cut back to just five who will patrol the river and perform other limited services while politicians in Washington DC try to figure out a way to get the full federal government going again.
All of the websites of the National Park Service and many other federal departments are shut down, and on October 1, Kathleen Sandt, the public relations specialist with the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, issued a statement. It said, “As of noon (October 1), the park will be CLOSED. No recreational activities will be permitted during the shutdown. All facilities including trails, buildings, the river corridor and all access points, picnic areas, beaches, and partner-operated facilities (such as PEEC, Peters Valley Craft Center and Mohican Outdoor Center) will be closed. The whole park is CLOSED. Millbrook Days, scheduled for October 5 and 6, is cancelled.”
She added, “Law enforcement rangers are exempted from the furlough and will focus on protection of life and property during the shutdown. Our 24-hour emergency communications center will continue to operate during the shutdown.”
Like everyone else, NPS has no idea how long the shutdown will be in effect, but the reality of it is reflected on the websites of elected politicians.
A message on the website of New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says, “Unfortunately, due to the recent temporary lapse in government funding, my Senate office has been shut down. What this means: Our offices are not staffed and phones will not be answered; emails sent to individual staff members will be responded to at the conclusion of the shutdown. Letters and emails addressed to my office will be responded to at the conclusion of the shutdown; With the closing of all federal offices, our constituent services team will not be able to work on any cases for you during this time, but will continue with your case after the shutdown. I will continue to work with my Senate colleagues to resolve the funding issues. The current situation cannot stand and New Yorkers should not be asked to endure this funding lapse for any period of time.”