NORTHEAST HARBOR- It’s the twenty-sixth day of the partial government shutdown and the impacts are becoming more noticeable.
With no end in sight to the partial government shutdown, national parks are doing what they can to operate without their regular staff.
David Macdonald, the president of Friends of Acadia said that 95% of the parks regular staff is furloughed.
At Acadia National Park, there’s been no trash collection, open restrooms, or visitor information.
They also have limited maintenance crews to help with snow removal.
“It’s been very difficult to plan for when we get snow” Paige Steele, the conservation projects manager for Friends of Acadia explained. “We actually had to create a special agreement so that we could groom during the shutdown.”
Every year, about 20 volunteers from the Acadia Winter Trails Association groom the Carriage Roads.
The Friends of Acadia and National Park Service reached a temporary agreement that would allow them to continue doing so during the shutdown.
“We have a group of volunteer groomers. We’re all cross country skiers, both classic and skate skiers” Gordon Beck, one of the volunteers, said. “We train groomers to use the snowmobiles and our new Kubota to groom the trails for everyone else.”
While the help is greatly appreciated, MacDonald says its no substitute for all of the staff that have been furloughed.
The agreement with the federal government that allows them to groom the trails during the shutdown will last for the next 90 days