As many of you must know by now, the U.S. federal government is “shut down”—and I put this in quotes because obviously not every government office is closed. Unfortunately for us nature photographers, many of the most beautiful scenic destinations in the United States—the National Parks and National Monuments—are currently closed. Those are the headlines, of which I’m sure you are aware. Don’t despair, however, as plenty of the nation’s scenic treasures are outside of federal lands, and not all federal lands are off limits. For example, I’m currently in the Gunnison National Forest in Colorado, and so far access is no problem.
But right now, it’s not easy to tell what is open and what is closed—the National Park Service’s website (http://www.nps.gov) is off-line, and the Department of Interior’s site has been reduced to displaying that agency’s shutdown plan, written in bureaucratese. The good news is that some things you thought might be closed will be open. The bad news is that some places you’d expect to find open might be closed.
I’ve recently posted on my personal blog The Nature Photographer’s Guide to the U.S. Government Shutdown, which contains information from me and my readers about how the shutdown might impact photographers looking to visit federal lands. I’m doing my best to update the blog with any relevant new information about the shutdown, and readers are leaving comments with information about specific federal lands which they have visited (or tried to visit). Feel free to stop by for the latest shutdown news, and to join the conversation with your own shutdown story.