Parks Stay Open during Shutdown With a Little Help from Friends

South Florida’s National Parks Stay Open, Stay Clean

With a Little Help from their Friends

January 2019 – A government shutdown was not the way we wanted to start the new year, but here we are.

The good news: South Florida’s national parks are open for business, despite a lack of park rangers, and the parks are not buried in trash, thanks to the efforts of park partners like Florida National Parks Association (FNPA), Guest Services, Shark Valley Tram Tours, Yankee Freedom and South Florida National Parks Trust (SFNPT). 

SFNPT volunteers and FNPA employees have been cleaning bathrooms, collecting trash and staffing visitor centers since the shutdown began December 22. Tour operators in FlamingoShark ValleyGulf CoastDry Tortugas and Biscayne Bay have been taking care of business as well, with a full schedule of park tours and services, despite the loss of critical park support. 

Let’s hope the shutdown ends soon and park rangers are allowed to go back to work.

In the meantime, here are three things you can do to support South Florida’s national parks (and the park rangers who work there) during the shutdown…

Sign up to volunteer Experienced volunteers are needed to help staff park visitor centers. Send us an email with “volunteer” in the subject line if you know the parks well enough to answer visitor questions, provide directions and offer suggestions on what to see and do. We also anticipate the parks will need volunteers after the shutdown ends. Contact us if you would like to get on a list of volunteers to lend a hand once the parks are up and running again.

Donate to support basic park functions (like buying toilet paper, at a cost of $200 per day). 100% of all donations will support the extra cost of nonprofit operations during the shutdown. 

Send a note of thanks to park rangers to let them know you appreciate them and the work they do. Living through a government shutdown isn’t fun for anyone… less so if you’re a park ranger. Send us an email with “thanks” in the subject line and we’ll pass it along, or send a card to 1390 South Dixie Highway #2203 Coral Gables, FL 33146 and we’ll deliver it when the shutdown ends.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: If you are headed out to the parks, contact the tour operators and concession companies listed above for campground reservations (Everglades), tour schedules and other services.