January 20, 2018
Most national parks in Texas remain open over the weekend despite the federal government shutdown, but visitors can still expect to see consequences of Congress failure to pass a spending bill Friday night.
Big Bend National Park remained open to visitors Saturday, but the visitor center was closed. The Chisos Mountains Lodge, the privately operated resort inside the park, remains open, lodge operators said.
At Guadalupe Mountains National Park, a voicemail recording notes that the visitor center will be “closed during the government shutdown.”
And at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, staff are at work beginning the shutdown process, said Susanne McDonald, the park’s superintendent, but visitors may still attend the park during business hours.
“People can still go on the driving tour, but folks should know there won’t be any restrooms, we’re not collecting trash, anything like that,” she said.
Spokesmen for the Alibates Flint Quarries and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area said they remain open during the weekend and are still awaiting guidance to know if they will be open on Monday.
During a shutdown, only “essential” employees, including certain park staff, and many employees of the military and the post office, typically continue their work. Other federal employees are furloughed. Texas has nearly 200,000 federal employees, fourth in the nation behind California, Virginia and Maryland, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The shutdown is affecting presidential libraries as well. In Dallas, the George W. Bush Presidential Center and its museum remain open during the weekend, though its research room and other archival activities will be closed for the duration of the shutdown, according to a news release.
The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin is closed over the weekend. “We were scheduled to open at 9 a.m., but because there was no funding approved last night, we did not open our doors this morning,” said spokeswoman Anne Wheeler.
A call to the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station was not immediately returned. A message on the library’s website said its archives facilities were closed and that “activities are canceled, with some exceptions.”
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2018/01/20/heres-how-government-shutdown-playing-out-texas/.
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