They answer your questions in the visitor center. They remove trees that winter downed across trails. They even lead you on tours through the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park.

“They” are seasonal rangers and park staff, thousands of people who enable national parks to function during the high season. And this summer they could be showing up later than normal, which could affect campground openings as well as who is, or isn’t, available to answer your questions.

As reported by National Parks Traveler, national Park Service officials in Washington are well aware of the administrative glitch the ongoing partial government shutdown has dealt them, and are working to find a way to begin the hiring process for thousands of seasonal staff for the upcoming summer season, a task seemingly blocked by the furlough of the agency’s human resources staff.

“Let’s say that the campgrounds are supposed to open on the Blue Ridge Parkway around Easter. They may not open until later in May, and that’s not good for park visitors,” says Phil Francis, chair of the executive council of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks.

Like any paperwork endeavor for an agency that employs 20,000 or more staff throughout the year, roughly half of which are seasonal positions, assembling job applications is not a quick and easy matter. And it seems to be taking longer every year, even without the loss of the human resources staff, said Francis.

For the full story click https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2019/01/ongoing-shutdown-threatens-seasonal-hiring-national-parks.