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Government shutdown continues to impact Pinnacles National Park

Fourth week brings rock slide, concerns for ecosystem.
Trailhead near the Bear Gulch Visitor Center. Photo by Jim Ostdick.

As the federal government shutdown ends its fourth week, Pinnacles National Park remains closed to the public except to those who made camping reservations prior to the shutdown. Bureau of Land Management public lands remain open with limited law enforcement and no maintenance operations.

Jennifer Westphal, executive director of the Pinnacles National Park Foundation, told BenitoLink that law enforcement officers turn away about 65 cars daily and that signs might go up in Tres Pinos alerting the public of the closure of the national park. She also said that concerns over long-term effects on the park’s ecosystem are beginning to arise. Work crews are unable go in and mitigate non-native plants such as yellow-star thistle, which the park has been working to eradicate for several years.

Following this week’s rains, a rock slide occurred on the road to Bear Gulch, Westphal said. Park maintenance was called in to clear it. In order to do so, their status had to be switched from non-essential workers to essential.

At this time Seth Macy is acting superintendent and chief law enforcement officer at the national park. It’s unclear when or if a new regular superintendent will arrive. The previous superintendent, Karen Dorn, transferred to Ohio’s Hopewell Culture National Historical Park last year.

Westphal also mentioned the report of a visitor harassing a California condor with a drone in early January prior to the full closure. The use of drones and model airplanes is prohibited at Pinnacles.

For more on the national park during the government shutdown, check here.



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Carmeldb's picture
Carmel de Bertaut (Carmeldb)

I have a BA in Natural Science, a minor in environmental studies and an AA in communications studies. I have worked as an ecologist and as a writer.

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