Mount Rainier partially reopens despite ongoing government shutdown

Incredible sunset as seen from Mt. Rainier National Park on July 5, 2018 (Photo: Mike Reid Photography)

Though the government shutdown entered the 23rd day on Sunday, Mount Rainier partially reopened its Nisqually entrance.

The park was able to open itself back up after officials were given permission to use retained recreation fees to fund park operations.

But much of access remains limited. Visitors will be able to enter the park and get to Longmire, but Paradise (and the road to it) remains closed. Basic guest services at Longmire and Kautz Creek — restrooms, the National Park Inn, the restaurant, and gift shop — are now open again.

Unlike federal employees, some 35 to 45 National Park Inn workers will not receive backpay when the shutdown ends; they are part of Rainier Guest Services, which contracts with National Parks Service.

A week ago, the Rainier shutdown was entirely closed to visitors. Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds have allowed the park to provide staff to give information, plow roads, and remove trash. Though the entrance gates will provide more information, fees will not be collected. Visitors centers in the park will also be closed.

Rainier is not alone in the limited opening: Olympic National Park remains open with limited access, while Kalaloch and Lake Crescent Lodges remain open, with all visitor centers, contact stations, and permit desks closed.

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