Government Shutdown

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We’ve heard the stories of dangerous conditions at national parks since the shutdown began three weeks ago. Although there’s only a tiny sliver of Yellowstone National Park in Idaho, other parts of the state’s federal public land system are experiencing the effects of gridlock in D.C.


Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

wbeem / Flickr

Over the weekend and into Monday, the federal government temporarily shut down as Democrats and Republicans failed to reach agreements on several contentious issues. By Monday afternoon, senators said they had worked out an arrangement to reopen the government.

According to a National Park Service report, towns around national parks lost an estimated $414 million during the partial government shutdown last October.

Washington and Idaho want recently furloughed federal workers to repay unemployment benefits. But a quirk in Oregon law means affected workers there will get to keep whatever they received.

Mountain Home Ranger District / fs.usda.gov

Federal employees are scrambling to catch up on things left undone for nearly three weeks. That’s after tens of thousands of workers were furloughed during the partial government shutdown, which ended last Thursday.

But on Idaho’s public lands, some work can’t be caught up. The shutdown's timing was particularly bad for wildfire prevention and rehabilitation.

Anyone waiting to learn about unemployment in Idaho for the month of September is just going to have to be patient.

The monthly jobless report was supposed to be released Friday.

But the 16-day partial federal government shutdown has put that deadline in jeopardy, and state labor officials say they have no idea when the latest unemployment figures will be ready for public release. State officials say the lack of federal staff has made calculation of jobless claims and other data impossible.

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Update, Oct. 17, 9:23 a.m.

Associated Press:

Three of four of Idaho congressional members cast votes in opposition to the hard-fought legislation that ended the partial 16-day government shutdown and averted a potential federal default.

U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted against the bill late Wednesday, as did Rep. Raul Labrador when the House took up the compromise measure.

Bobby Arkle

Tens of thousands of federal employees have been locked out of their jobs without pay for more than two weeks because of the partial government shutdown. It’s been a hard two weeks for Sara Arkle’s family. Arkle’s husband is an ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Idaho, where he studies things like the impact of wildfire on ecosystems. She works too, but part time since their son was born two years ago.

Arkle told Adam Cotterell the uncertainty has been the hardest part of the shutdown.

Video: What Two Bison Think Of The Government Shutdown

Oct 15, 2013
Screengrab from WyoShooter308 / YouTube

It's day 15 of the federal government shutdown and regional bison have had enough too. 

WyoShooter308 captured this video of two bison having a little fun with Grand Teton National Park barricades just north of Kelly, Wyoming.

  Loggers are packing up and leaving timber sales uncut across the Northwest. It's another effect of the partial government shutdown. Timber companies say even if a deal is reached soon at the nation's capitol, the effects from the logging hiatus could be felt all the way into next spring.

Timber companies received letters from the Forest Service telling them to cease operations. That's because the employees who oversee and inspect timber sales were furloughed.

Yellowstone, Mammoth, hot springs
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The governors of Washington, Oregon and Idaho say they have no plans to reopen national parks and monuments using state dollars. President Obama has given states that option as the federal government shutdown stretches into day 11 and beyond.

Utah immediately took the president up on his offer.  A $1.6 million check to the federal treasury allows the Beehive State to reopen several economically important national parks and monuments.

But here in the Northwest, tourist magnets like Mount Rainier, Crater Lake and Craters of the Moon remain closed.

Idaho's Furloughed Federal Workers Begin Applying For Unemployment

Oct 11, 2013
NPCA Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

The Times-News reports at least 1,100 furloughed federal workers have applied for unemployment benefits in Idaho since the government partially shutdown Oct. 1.

Most Americans say they aren't directly affected by the shutdown. But some pockets of society, beyond furloughed federal workers and their families, are being severely hit.

We used NPR's social media network to ask about the impact and were deluged by messages from people who are worried and scared, especially veterans and the disabled, and many others who are angry and frustrated.

With economic impacts mounting and one Utah county threatening to take over national parks, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says she will "consider agreements with governors" to allow state funding of national parks so that some can reopen to visitors.

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