Olympic National Park visitors have 48 hours to leave due to federal shutdown
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Olympic National Park visitor centers, including this one in Port Angeles, will close under the federal shutdown. -- Peninsula Daily News photo

By Rob Ollikainen
Peninsula Daily News

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Peninsula's congressman will give up his pay during shutdown

Freshman U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, who represents the 6th Congressional District that includes the North Olympic Peninsula, issued a statement Monday saying that he would give up his pay for the duration of a government shutdown.

Because members of Congress are paid automatically, Kilmer spokesman Stephen Carter said his boss would return whatever he is paid to the U.S. Treasury.

“I am dead set against a government shutdown because it will have serious effects on our economy and because many people rely on services provided by federal agencies,” Kilmer said in his statement.

“I believe in leading by example — if Congress can't get its act together to stop a government shutdown, then I don't believe members of Congress should be paid.”

Kilmer, a Port Angeles native, continued:

“The fact that some in Congress would risk a shutdown in order to score political points demonstrates why Congress is currently held in lower regard than head lice.”

Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — The shutdown of the federal government will close Olympic National Park, furlough 103 of its employees and send overnight visitors packing by Thursday, park officials said.

All 401 national parks in the federal system are being shuttered today after the U.S. House and Senate failed to break a bitter budget standoff over President Obama's health care law, setting in motion the first government shutdown in nearly two decades.

Asked what would happen in a shutdown, Olympic National Park spokeswoman Barb Mayes said Monday:

“All park entrances would be closed and secured.

“Visitors centers and all other facilities would be closed, and guests in hotels in the concessionaire lodges and campgrounds would be given 48 hours notice to leave.”

Notice is to be given at 6 p.m. today for visitors to leave campgrounds and concessionaire-operated lodges such as Lake Crescent Lodge, Kalaloch Lodge and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort by 6 p.m. Thursday.

Coast Guard, Border Patrol and other Homeland Security functions are unaffected by the government shutdown.

However, the federal office building in downtown Port Angeles is closed.

The. Postal Service is unaffected because it relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running and receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations.

U.S. Forest Service ranger stations are closed.

Olympic National Forest spokeswoman Donna Nemeth said she was directed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to refer inquires about a potential shutdown to the Office of Management and Budget.

A staffer with the White House Office of Management and Budget said she could not comment on the shutdown.

Some will continue to work at ONP

At Olympic National Park, 31 employees will continue to work during the shutdown to provide security, emergency response and maintenance of the park's water and wastewater systems, Maynes said.

Roads that travel though the park such as U.S. Highway 101 at Lake Crescent and along the coast south of Forks will be unaffected.

All park employees will report to work as usual today — then spend four hours performing “shutdown operations” such as changing voice mail greetings, Maynes said.

Like the park, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is also closed.

With its 14 employees, the Port Angeles-based sanctuary is run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.

Active-duty military personnel at Naval Magazine Indian Island — across the bay from Port Townsend — will continue working, but their pay will be delayed because Defense Department civil service employees handling payroll will be furloughed under a partial shutdown.

Clallam County Administrator Jim Jones said Monday it was to soon to tell how a federal government shutdown would affect Clallam County.

“In my opinion, it depends on how long it lasts and how each of the federal agencies that we most deal with themselves respond,” Jones said.

“Right now, nobody has sent us any letters or made any phone calls.”

Jefferson County Administrator Philip Morley said the impact of a federal government shutdown would be “minimal” on Jefferson County if it lasts for a couple of days.

He said the impact would be “significant” to the county if it goes on longer than a week.

“I think the immediate impacts are hard to gauge, but it makes it very difficult to plan programs and plan for the future when the federal government and sometimes state government budgets are managed in such a last minute and chaotic fashion,” Morley said.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5072, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 30. 2013 11:20PM
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