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So If The Us National Parks Close On Monday...

Posted by: Adam Jewell on 09/30/2013 - 4:33 AM

...what other cool places are there to go see and photograph in Washington, Oregon or even Idaho and Montana?

It's been 42 months and 85,000 miles driving and the journey has included 48 of the 49 National Parks in the lower 48 states as well as tons of National Monuments, Seashores, Historic Sites and such. The last National Park I have to get to is North Cascade NP but I won't get there by Monday (at the Oregon/California border in the Redwoods now) when the parks may shut down.

I'll wait around for a little while for to see if they re-open but while I'm doing that does anyone have any suggestions for cool places to go see and photograph in that area of the country that won't be closed? I'll head to the Olympic coast for a little while because I don't think they can shut down the beaches there but not sure where else to go. I'll need to find places with hostels, cheap campgrounds, or forest service/BLM land to spend the nights and keep the lodging budget near zero so I try to stay away from cities and just stick to landscape and wildlife photography.

Would it be practical to go to the Canadian Rockies at this time of year and see their national parks (Jasper/Banff/Lake Louise) or would the winter weather be kicking in now making road travel and cheap lodging a bit tricky?

Any suggestions much appreciated!

Just got a photo featured on the National Park Foundation Facebook page! The Kayaks At Isle Royale National Park!

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Oldest Reply

Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 09/30/2013 - 5:28 AM

Changed as the top post was changed


Posted by: Benjamin Yeager on 09/30/2013 - 11:32 AM

I think you will be able to do North Cascades NP as a fairly important state highway runs through it (Hwy 20). I don't think it will be affected by the shutdown other than the visitors center.


Posted by: Arthur Dodd on 09/30/2013 - 11:50 AM

Check out state and county parks in the area. They often have camping facilities in them. I do volunteer work at one in Florida (a bit of a drive for you, Adam), Jonathan Dickinson State Park, that has facilities for RVs and tents, plus canoeing, kayaking, hiking, etc.


Posted by: Jenny Armitage on 09/30/2013 - 2:22 PM

Most of the Oregon and western Washington beaches are state rather than federally owned. If you are in the Northwest, why not pop over to Vancouver Island? Lots of Canadian parks there and the weather is as mild (and wet) as Washington State.


Posted by: Craig Carter on 09/30/2013 - 2:39 PM

Check out Mount Hood or Mount Shasta!

“When I first caught sight of Mount Shasta over the braided folds of the Sacramento Valley, my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”
— John Muir, 1874


Posted by: Joshua House on 09/30/2013 - 2:45 PM

Hood is Federal as well.


Posted by: Jenny Armitage on 09/30/2013 - 2:48 PM

Drive the Columbia Gorge on Oregon HWY 30. The falls are all state parks and they are spectacular. Silver Falls State Park, just east of Salem is also pretty spectacular, especially if you are willing to hike. Further south for a more quiet kind of beauty there is Myrtle Grove State Park just inland from Coos Bay.


Posted by: Craig Carter on 09/30/2013 - 2:56 PM

The whole mountain? lol Surely, there are tons of views surrounding that vastness. Think outside the box. You may be able to grab some unique stuff!!


Posted by: Jenny Armitage on 09/30/2013 - 3:01 PM

It's state HWY all the way around Mt. Hood. Timberline Lodge and Ski area is privately owned and on the mountain.


Posted by: Craig Carter on 09/30/2013 - 3:03 PM


Posted by: Glenn McCarthy Art and Photography on 09/30/2013 - 7:13 PM

We might find out just how much property the federal government owns!

Hope you can find a spot out there Adam! If not, try flying over them from a private airport!


Posted by: Bradley Clay on 09/30/2013 - 7:52 PM


Do the actual parks close, or just the ranger stations and visitor centers?

Here in Virginia, we have some federal land that contains major drive routes. Im wondering if they will close as well?

@Lara Ellis…. you live in that area… Does Skyline drive close?


Posted by: Phyllis Wolf on 09/30/2013 - 8:13 PM

My cousin is traveling across American as she does every year photographing. She's in Yellowstone right now and will also be shooting the Grand Tetons this week. She said everyones talking about it today and are very concerned that its going to happen. Hopefully something changes in the final hours. Here are the contingency plans if there is a shutdown which will answer your major roads will remain open, for example.. and park law enforcement will still be on duty for another example....


Posted by: Lara Ellis on 09/30/2013 - 8:13 PM

@ Bradley yes I'm pretty sure the National Parks close including Shenandoah Nat. Park. (Skyline drive) which is sad because that is a destination for many of our campers at the campground where I work which luckily is a privately owned campground so will not be closing. This couldn't come at a worse time because this is when all the leaves are starting to turn for fall color and that may impact the campground where I work since we often get the overflow from the Park, in fact we are at the top of their list as where to stay when the park is full. @ Adam as stated above many of the parks in Oregon I know are State Parks so you should be able to go to those but I was reading online today that National Parks would be closed and if you are camping in a National Park at the time of the govt. shut down they give you two days to get out according to the article I read online today.


Posted by: Regina Valluzzi on 09/30/2013 - 8:14 PM

Mount St Helens


Posted by: Craig Carter on 09/30/2013 - 8:18 PM

They give you two days to get out? lol They don't even know who is inside half of the time. The trick I used to use before was to drive in at midnight when the nobody was on the gate. Of course I own a pass now. I wonder if I will get extra days on my pass based on how many days they are closed? Plus there are people actually living inside National Parks.

Currently, inside all U.S. national parks, there are 11,640 pieces of private land. With public monies dwindling, it is feared that someday soon you could hike into a protected valley and come upon a strip mall or a whole neighborhood of homes.


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 09/30/2013 - 8:23 PM

The last threatened shutdown, the national forest campgrounds were slated to be closed, but they said that disbursed camping (at established individual campsites with no services at all) would still be permitted. You have lots of national forests in that area. And the roads stay open.


Posted by: Bradley Clay on 09/30/2013 - 8:39 PM


please keep me informed. this is usually my hike season out there.

I just can't picture that area vacant. there is also some outside access to Shenandoah Natl park. I wonder if it is Closed closed? would that be Trespassing? But I assume rangers would be furloughed so they wouldn't be around.


Posted by: Lara Ellis on 09/30/2013 - 8:44 PM

@ Bradley maybe the National Forest Land would be the good way to go too since those are mostly just roads and you don't see a lot of rangers there anyways as long as the roads aren't closed...good luck.


Posted by: Phyllis Wolf on 09/30/2013 - 8:58 PM

From the Department of the Interior Contengency Plan link I posted...

"All areas of the National Park and National Wildlife Refuge Systems would be closed and public
access would be restricted."

"National Park Service.

In the event of a lapse in appropriations, NPS would close and secure
all park facilities. A total of 3,266 employees would be excepted including 2,139 to conduct law
enforcement and 1,126 to conduct other activities required to protect life and property. Park
facilities would generally not be available to park visitors. Visitor centers would be closed and
access to park areas denied, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Independence Hall,
Alcatraz, and the Washington Monument. Park roads would be closed except when they are
necessary as thruways.

All concession operated services and facilities would be closed unless
they are deemed essential for health and safety reasons, are needed to support on-going excepted
NPS activities or are located in urban areas where full NPS law enforcement coverage is
continued due to the inability to control visitor access. Visitors using overnight concession
accommodations and campgrounds would be notified and given 48 hours to make alternate
arrangements and leave the park. Emergency responders, including fire management, emergency
management services, and law enforcement personnel, not required for essential activities would
be placed on furlough but may be called back to duty if an emergency situation arises.

For the first two or three days of a shutdown, staff would escort visitors from the parks and
facilities and secure facilities. Park superintendents would maintain a list of personnel who
would be excepted from furlough during a prolonged shutdown. A portion of the initially
excepted employees (including the U.S. Park Police) would be continued for the duration of a
shutdown. A cadre of employees at the NPS project management support centers in Harper’s
Ferry, West Virginia and Denver, Colorado, who are necessary for direct project management of
ongoing projects funded by multi-year appropriations would remain on duty. NPS would
furlough 21,379 employees."


Posted by: Lara Ellis on 09/30/2013 - 9:03 PM

@ Phyllis, do you know of any info about the National Forest land as opposed to National Park land since they are two different parts of the govt?


Posted by: Lara Ellis on 09/30/2013 - 9:05 PM

Oh...just found this looks like National Forest is affected too. GRRR I wish the politicians would grow up! :-(


Posted by: Phyllis Wolf on 09/30/2013 - 9:16 PM

Since we arent allowed to speak of politics I'll just repeat your sentiment.....Grrrr.


Posted by: Loree Johnson on 09/30/2013 - 9:17 PM

I agree with the advice of Silver Falls State Park in Oregon. I was there in June and it is beautiful. But, only if you like waterfalls, lol. As a matter of fact, any of the Oregon State Parks would be a good choice. Oregon does a great job with their state parks. I almost always prefer to visit them over CA state parks even though I live in CA.


Posted by: Lara Ellis on 09/30/2013 - 9:22 PM

@ Phylis I try not to follow politics anymore it just makes me frustrated. ;-) I'm happiest in nature but would be even happier if I could get into the Park to see some more nature! Luckily I live surrounded by nature on our land but I really feel sorry for the people in the Urban areas who come out to our National Park here to seek a peaceful respite from their busy lives.


Posted by: Craig Carter on 09/30/2013 - 9:28 PM

And the International Visitors who booked month's in advance and used their life savings?


Posted by: Roy Erickson on 09/30/2013 - 9:30 PM

And I just completed making reservations in VA and NC for leaf looking - certainly glad I got cancelable reservations. You got get all reservations at 30% off - but you couldn't cancel or get a refund for ANY reason. stupid people will take that bet.


Posted by: Gunter Nezhoda on 09/30/2013 - 9:33 PM

I know nothing ........... Are they closing down bars too?

Gunter Nezhoda - Member of Q - the collection


Posted by: Gregory Scott on 09/30/2013 - 9:39 PM

As I said, you might find that in the national forests that disbursed camping to be permitted, and roads may be open.
That, and state parks, as some have suggested, may give you plenty of options.


Posted by: Lara Ellis on 09/30/2013 - 9:43 PM

I think you are right least I hope so. We live near National Forest land and hopefully they won't try to close that road access to it.


Posted by: Phyllis Wolf on 09/30/2013 - 9:43 PM

@ Lara
I hear ya. I would rather not think about politics and just enjoy nature and art but then this kind of thing comes in and slaps us. ugh! Mu cuz is in Grand Tetons National Park tonight. I guess she'll stay until they kick her moves on to the next location she plans to go to.

lol@ Gunter


Posted by: Craig Carter on 09/30/2013 - 10:00 PM

My final post here: Just grab a cup of coffee, a warm blanket and hike 211 miles without leaving your couch!


Posted by: Lynn Palmer on 09/30/2013 - 10:11 PM

How about Indian reservations? Many are located in scenic locations and offer hiking trails and other tourist related activities.


Posted by: Jenny Armitage on 09/30/2013 - 10:37 PM

Take I80 up (east) from Pendleton to LaGrande. The views along the way are well worth the drive. It has rest areas like National Parks. ;)


Posted by: Brian Wallace on 09/30/2013 - 11:34 PM

I'm guessing what will happen for most National Parks is like what happened back in the Reagan era... The parks just won't be maintained. Back then it was left to normal citizens to take it upon themselves to do what they could to keep them going.


Posted by: Chaline Ouellet on 10/01/2013 - 12:55 AM

Seabeck south of Seattle is really beautiful. Orcas Island, Whidbey Island. I don't know if any major roads or passes are closed up in the Canadian Rockies but Glacier got 8 inches of snow last night so the 'going to the sun' road is closed. It has been stormy out this way but is clearing up mid-week.


Posted by: Phyllis Wolf on 10/01/2013 - 1:08 AM

Well its official. My cuz and everyone at Grand Tetons were told they all will have to leave the park..along with everyone at every other National Park in the country. Even the Statue of Liberty will now be closed. Park employees along with a lot of other people not going to work tomorrow. Dang politicians! Grrrrrrrrr


Posted by: Kathi Shotwell on 10/01/2013 - 1:52 AM

Oh great... those idiots... not your cousin, Phyllis...

edit - still laughing at Gunter's question! =D


Posted by: Nina Prommer on 10/01/2013 - 2:01 AM


what are they going to do if tons of people showed up in the parks

tourists won't know what to do

can't imagine they close them at all

lets see what really happens

closing the wonderful parks is a sin!

I am keeping my fingers crossed for the best scenario


Posted by: Adam Jewell on 10/01/2013 - 11:12 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions! So far, it seems like slowing down to take in more of the Oregon coast is a good start. The sights are awesome and the weather perfect though a little more fog and some clouds in the sky would be nice. Think I'll research a bit of the area south of Seattle, Orcas Island and that type of thing. If the weather looks fairly good, I'm dying to get to the Canadian Rockies - Jasper, Banff, Lake Louise. Those were in the original plan but there are so many things to see all across the country its easy to get a month or more behind schedule.

It amazing how much farther a travel budget will go when you just sleep in your car in rest stops, truck stops and other random places almost every night.

Sure hope the parks re-open before long. Some places like The Wave are almost impossible to get a permit for in the first place and people come from all over the world if they can snag one of those permits. Wonder if people who have permits for things like that while everything is closed will get to pick a new date to hike out there?

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Posted by: Kathi Shotwell on 10/02/2013 - 12:26 AM

If you're in the south half of the Oregon Coast, be sure to spend a bit of time in Depoe Bay. I never knew what a wonderful creative community they have there.


Posted by: Glenn McCarthy Art and Photography on 10/02/2013 - 12:44 AM


Unfortunately this is not the Reagan era... but everything today must have a political side to it. It seems that control of the National Parks and who comes in and goes out is part of that side in this new day. The people cannot be trusted with their own land....


Posted by: Brian Wallace on 10/02/2013 - 1:45 AM

Where I'm located, the land procured (donated to the county or state) for parks is just sitting there not being developed because of other more important "government" priorities (whatever that may be).


Posted by: Isabella F Abbie Shores on 10/02/2013 - 4:04 AM

Thank you for keeping this off politics


This discussion is closed.