Not all Corps of Engineers sites closed by federal shutdown

Rod Koon of Mukilteo and his buddy Jerry Grayson of Everett take a break to clean their steelhead and salvage the eggs while fishing the Snake River. (Rich Landers)
Rod Koon of Mukilteo and his buddy Jerry Grayson of Everett take a break to clean their steelhead and salvage the eggs while fishing the Snake River. (Rich Landers)

BOATING — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Walla Walla District has announced that while some of its campgrounds and other facilities will be temporarily closed during the federal government shutdown, many other boat launches and sites will remain open if they're supported by local partner groups.

Sites NOT AFFECTED by the shutdown on the Clearwater and Snake rivers include:

Dworshak State Park, Ice Harbor Marina, Boyer Park, Chief Looking Glass Park, Gateway Park, Hells Canyon Resort, Clearwater Park, Clearwater North/Lewiston, Chief Timothy Park, Wawawai Park, Lyons Ferry Marina, Lucky Peak State Park.

Sites NOT AFFECTED in the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla areas include:

Two Rivers Park, Columbia Park, McNary Yacht Club, Hat Rock State Park, Pasco Boat Basin, Chiawana Park, Columbia Park West, Duportail Boat Launch, Sacajawea State Park, Walla Walla Yacht Club.

Note to salmon/steelhead anglers on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia:

The White Bluffs boat ramp in the Hanford Reach National Monument apparently has been closed by the government shutdown, forcing more anglers to pack into the state-managed launch areas at Ringold and Vernita Bridge.

Read on for the just-issued media release with details from the Corps of Engineers.

Temporary closure of Walla Walla District facilities and services
WALLA WALLA, Wash. –The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing for the closure of Corps-operated facilities and the suspension of some services, beginning today, as the shutdown of the federal government goes into effect.
     “We have updated our plans to prepare for an orderly shutdown, as outlined in the guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget,” said Andrew Kelly, Walla Walla District commander. “The planning was based on current law regarding a lapse in appropriations, and the requirements of an emergency furlough in response to a government shutdown.”
     “A government shutdown places significant additional hardships on our workforce,” Kelly said. “Of course, we hoped that this planning would be ultimately unnecessary, and that no lapse would occur. However, as it happens, we are ready to follow the law,” he said.
     The current Continuing Resolution Authority expired at midnight, last night, and because federal funds are unavailable, the following locations and services to the public will be affected until funding becomes available:
·   Visitor Centers, campgrounds, boat launches and day-use facilities will be unsupported or closed at all Corps locks and dams. Affected recreation areas would not return to normal until after the shutdown is lifted. The following notice will be posted at closed facilities:
     “Effective Tuesday, October 1, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed all Corps-operated   
     campgrounds and day-use parks nationwide as a result of the federal government shutdown.  Visitors    
     currently camping at Corps campgrounds will be required to vacate by 8 p.m. local on Wednesday,
     October 2, and no new visitors or reservations will be accepted until after the federal government
     shutdown ends.  We regret the impacts of these required actions on the recreating public, and will make
     every attempt to inform the public when these facilities reopen. Paid reservations will be fully refunded  
     at either the customer's request or automatically after the reservation departure date during the closure
     period. To request a refund please contact the reservation customer service at (888) 448-1474.”
However, Corps parks leased to partner agencies and concessionaires will remain open, but cannot be supported by the Corps while the shutdown is in place.
·   Vessel navigation would continue to remain available through the Walla Walla District’s navigation locks.
·   Hydropower operations will continue, as will flood-damage reduction and other emergency response activities. Security will remain in place at all Corps dams.
·   Public vehicle crossings over Lower Granite, Little Goose and Lower Monumental dams are currently still being allowed. Travelers are encouraged to call 1-888-DAM-INFO (1-888-326-4636) for the most up-to-date dam-crossing schedules and information.
·   The Corps of Engineers’ Regulatory permitting offices in Idaho would be open with minimum staffing.

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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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