National park, Forest Service, BLM workers prepare for shutdown

If the federal government is partially shut down over the budget battle Tuesday morning, don't plan on a trip to Crater Lake National Park.

"We would have to close the park," said longtime park employee Marsha McCabe. "Most of us would be furloughed. A few staff members — law enforcement, a couple of maintenance snowplow operators and maintenance water utility staff — would stay on but the park would be closed."

She is among about 50 permanent National Park Service employees at the park along with about 20 seasonal workers expected to be sent home, casualties of the funding fight in Washington, D.C.

The park's closure also would affect the concessionaire staff at the park, McCabe said, noting the closure would impact all facilities in the park, including historic Crater Lake Lodge which normally closes Oct. 15.

"Any overnight guests would have 48 hours to make other arrangements and leave," she said, adding, "We're hopeful things will be worked out, but we will be prepared to shut the park down."

They are among the several thousand federal employees in the region and nearly 28,000 in Oregon who could be impacted by the temporary shutdown.

However, many federal services dealing with health and safety will continue to function. For instance, the mail will be delivered and Social Security checks will be sent. Medicare won't be affected. The Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center and Clinics, operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, will continue operations.

A shutdown would affect the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Medford District and the Rogue River-SIskiyou National Forest. The lion's share of both staffs at the BLM district and the national forest would be furloughed, leaving only emergency crews in place, officials said.

— Paul Fattig

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