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Government shutdown forces closure of Mt. Rainier National Park to vehicles

Roads closed now at Mt. Rainier National Park (KOMO Photo)

ASHFORD, Wash. -- The effects of the partial government shutdown have reached Mt. Rainier, where rangers have officially closed down all vehicle access to the national park.

The gates closed at 3 p.m. Sunday and now all vehicle traffic is prohibited until further notice.

Snow was expected in the park Sunday night into Monday, and crews were no longer available to plow the access roads.

"Significant snow accumulations have begun in the park, including the Longmire and Nisqually Entrance areas, and road travel is expected to deteriorate rapidly," park officials said.

The National Park Inn, restaurant and gift shop also closed Sunday afternoon meaning there are no longer any public services including food or restroom access in the park.

Officials are strongly recommending against anyone trying to access the park on foot.

"People attempting to visit the park on foot are reminded that there is no publicly-available parking outside the park gates and no areas are being maintained for safe public snow play inside the park," officials said. "Most property surrounding the gates at the Nisqually entrance is privately-owned and any vehicles improperly parked on private lands or blocking park gates may be towed. Traveling by foot on park roads is prohibited and is extremely unsafe, as limited plowing activities must continue to provide emergency access."

There has been little reported progress in Congress and President Trump reopening the government, which enters its third week in partial shutdown Monday.

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