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PA's National Parks Sites Are Open During The Shutdown, But Don't Expect To Use The Bathroom

Megan Harris
90.5 WESA
The Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville. Like other parks and memorials managed by the National Park Service, the grounds will stay open during the shutdown but some amenities will be closed.

As the partial federal government shutdown continues, parks, memorials, trails and recreation areas maintained by the National Park Service aren't staffed as normal. There are 19 such sites across Pennsylvania, including the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville. 

A voicemail greeting on the Memorial's phone line said the Visitor Center is closed during the shutdown.

"The grounds will remain open to visitors sunrise to sunset," the message said. "However, access may change without notice."

Some vital park services will be suspended, potentially causing issues for tourists or those who need to perform basic bodily functions.

"There will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services," the voicemail says. "Such as the Visitor Center, restrooms, trash collection or road maintenance."

This is the case for most of Pennsylvania's parks managed by the National Park Service, including Gettysburg National Military Park. 

Due to the shutdown, a spokesperson for the National Park Service was unavailable to comment for this story. However, in a statement the spokesperson said, "During the partial government shutdown, national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures."

Gift shops, restaurants and gas stations within parks that receive no assistance from the Park Service can continue to operate during the shutdown. The Park Service has the authority to close an area if it becomes a safety or health hazard due to weather, road conditions or garbage build-up.

Kathleen J. Davis covers news about just about anything at WESA. She’s also the primary reporter and producer of WESA’s weekly series Pittsburgh Tech Report. Kathleen originally hails from the great state of Michigan, and is always available to talk about suburban Detroit and Coney Island diners. She lives in Bloomfield.