The Beach is Open

Sundae Horn
The Beach is Open

In spite of incompetence in D.C., Ocracoke is still a winter beach paradise.

This government shutdown does not include the surf and sand. 

"We were directed to close facilities that are staffed or maintained by Park employees," said Mike Henry, Cape Hatteras Seashore's Deputy Chief Ranger, in a phone interview this morning. "On Ocracoke, that means the visitor center, ORV permit office, and the restrooms at the Day Use area and visitor center."

In a departure from the 1995 and 2013 shutdowns, this time the beaches, ORV ramps, nature trail, and soundside access will remain open. Different times, different administration, different word coming down from Washington?

"We're following the guidance we received," Mike explained. "If we don't normally close it at night, it's open. We are trying to stay open as much as possible."

Ocracoke's NPS staff will be whittled down to a few "essential" employees, who, Mike explained, will include a "a few law enforcement rangers and the animal caretaker [at the Pony Pen]." All other NPS employees on Ocracoke will be furloughed indefinitely, including a few law enforcement rangers. The furlough also sends home most of the administrative upper management team at the Park headquarters in Manteo. Anyone on furlough is forbidden to use their government-issued cell phones or computers, which is why no press release went out today with all this news. 

During the last government shutdown in 2013, furloughed federal employees received retroactive pay after Congress got their act together and funded the government. Again, we're under a different administration, and NPS employees haven't received word about whether they are working/staying home for free.  

Don't worry, though. Our elected representatives in Congress whose salaries we pay will continue to get theirs. 


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