Government Shutdown to Effect Outer Banks

Compiled by Kip Tabb - 

Closure sign at Wright Memorial Monument.

Closure sign at Wright Memorial Monument.

Without commenting on the politics of the government shutdown, who is right, or wrong, or if everyone is wrong, we did think we should let our readers know what is entailed locally; what the effect on the Outer Banks will be.

And there will be an effect. The National Park System and US Fish and Wildlife are important parts of the Outer Banks economic picture and all facilties and use are cancelled until congress funds them again. The closure has the potential to be painful.

Hopefully this will be resolved fairly quickly and the economic pain minimized.

Here is some of the information we have gathered so far.

 From the Lost Colony:

Government Shut Down Delays Opening of Psychopath

PSYCHOPATH, the haunted trail at The Lost Colony will be unable to open on schedule due to the government shut down that effects all National Parks.  Once the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is again open for business the PSYCHOPATH schedule will resume on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout October.  For further information please visit hauntedisland.org.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Alligator River, and others:

North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Closed Due to Federal Government Lapse in Appropriations

Federal Government will be closed as current funding expired on September 30, 2013 . . . Due to this event, Alligator River, Pea Island, Mackay Island, Currituck, Pocosin Lakes, Roanoke River,  Mattamuskeet, Cedar Island, Swanquarter, and Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuges will be closed to the public.

For programs experiencing a lapse in appropriated funding, only limited functions would continue, such as those necessary to respond to emergencies and to protect human life or property.  While a lapse in appropriations remains in effect, public access to Service properties will be prohibited and fish and wildlife management activities and public programs will be cancelled.

Refuge Manager Mike Bryant explained further, “This means all public uses of these national wildlife refuges cease completely – no hunting or fishing- even hunts for which people have been issued special permits, like the Pungo Hunt scheduled for this week.  It means no birdwatching, no walking on the beaches or trails, and no driving to see bears. It means that these federally-owned lands are closed.  The closure also includes Visitor Centers and offices.  For Refuge employees, it means no work.  No checking emails, no posting on web pages, no management activities, and no public programs- on- or off-refuge.  The few Refuge staff we have working will be limited to activities that protect of life and property or communications internally concerning the closure.”

Cape Hatteras National Seahore, Fort Raleigh, Wright Brothers Memorial

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CONTINGENCY PLAN

Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to close and secure national park facilities and grounds in order to suspend all activities except for those that are essential to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. Day use visitors will be instructed to leave the park immediately as part of Phase 1 closures. Visitors utilizing overnight concession accommodations and campgrounds will be notified to make alternate arrangements and depart the park as part of Phase 2. Wherever possible, park roads will be closed and access will be denied. National and regional offices and support centers will be closed and secured, except where they are needed to support excepted personnel. These steps will be enacted as quickly as possible while still ensuring visitor and employee safety as well as the integrity of park resources.

The shutdown process will take place in two phases. Phase 1 includes all activities to notify the public of the closure, secure government records and property, and begin winding down operations to essential activities only. Phase 1 will take place over a day and a half. Phase 2 will be initiated by the Director and includes the complete shutdown of all concession facilities and commercial visitor services. Overnight visitors will be given two days to make alternate arrangements and depart the parks. At the end of Phase 2 operations are expected to be at the minimum levels defined below. The entire closure process – both phases – will be completed within four days.

Additional information is available at DOI.gov/shutdown and oneINTERIOR.gov, as well as at OPM.gov, which will contain information about the government’s operating status on Tuesday, October 1, and the days following.

NCDOT

Federal Government Shutdown Impact on NCDOT

The North Carolina Department of Transportation, like many government agencies, is experiencing the immediate impact of the federal shutdown.

There are 65 full-time NCDOT positions and six part time positions that are fully or partially funded by federal dollars (16 of those positions are currently vacant).

Because of the shutdown, Human Resources was instructed to furlough 22 NCDOT employees immediately.

“Our people are NCDOT’s most valuable resource, and our dedicated team works hard everyday across the state to improve the quality of life for all North Carolinians,” said NCDOT Secretary Tony Tata. “We hope the federal government will resume operations as quickly as possible so all of our employees can get back to work.”

NCDOT is still working to identify the potential impact to any public transportation, rail, aviation, highway or bike and pedestrian projects that require input or approval from furloughed federal employees. That could impact any state projects that require federal permits and work supported by federal agencies, like dredging projects. NCDOT will continue to work closely with federal partners, monitor the situation closely, and update the public as we learn more about the potential impact.