UPDATE Oct. 1, 9:30 a.m.:
Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks kept their doors open today. The U.S. Congress reached a deal to avoid a government shutdown with hours to spare late Saturday night.
But another potential shutdown looms, as the stopgap agreement only holds until mid-November.
ORIGINAL STORY Sept. 29, 9:30 a.m.:
National parks across the country will shut their doors if national lawmakers fail to reach an agreement and the government shuts down on Sunday. That includes Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.
“Let me be clear: A government shut down will severely impact every corner of our work,” a senior interior department official said in a Thursday afternoon press call.
“At National Park Service units across the country, gates will be locked, visitor centers will be closed and thousands of park rangers will be furloughed,” said the official, who required anonymity.
The official said the “Republican government shutdown” is nothing new. This would be the fourth in the last decade. The last one went on for 34 days in late 2018.
“When I rejoined the department in this administration, the parks were still recovering from damage to resources, overwhelmed facilities, and depleted fee funding,” the official said.
The National Park Service is urging the public to not visit parks during the closure “out of consideration for protection of natural and cultural resources.”
At the time of reporting, it’s unclear what the exact plan is for Grand Teton and Yellowstone.
“We remain hopeful that a lapse in government funding will not occur,” Grand Teton Public Affairs Officer Valerie Gohlke wrote in an email to KHOL on Friday. “Because we are reviewing the NPS contingency plan and working to determine specifics for Grand Teton National Park, I don’t have additional specifics to share at this time.”
Tenley Thompson, the general manager at Jackson Hole Ecotour Adventures, said her organization is awaiting guidance on whether or not it will be able to continue operations within the park. She said it’s a prime time for wildlife watching, with bears in hyperphagia, and hopes to continue as normal.
On Thursday, the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce sent an email saying it’s “working with local and federal partners on communications in the event of a potential government shutdown.”
“In collaboration with these partners, we will provide necessary resources for the business community, locals, and visitors to navigate a possible shutdown,” the email said.