October 02, 2013
Shutdown Update: Some Federal Properties Remain Open For Sportsmen
By Bob Marshall
It turns out trying to answer the question “Are federal lands are open to public hunting and fishing during the government shutdown?” is not as easy as I reported in the previous post.
I was told by a service representative at a USA.gov’s toll-free number (1-800-333-4636) for shutdown questions, “If it’s federal property it is closed to public use during the shutdown.”
A Department of Interior worker did not contradict that message.
But that apparently is not true.
For example, a link to a Bureau of Land Management PDF with frequently asked questions about the shutdown includes these:
Will I be able to visit BLM-managed public lands?
All recreation facilities, including campgrounds, boat ramps etc., will be closed. If it is a non-developed recreational destination with no controlled access, you may visit. However, there will be no services and there will no non-emergency services available.
May I hunt or fish on public lands?
Yes, consistent with State law.
I am an outfitter with a BLM permit. May I still operate my business?
Commercial, competitive and group authorization for events and activities, including commercial outfitter and special recreation permits, can continue operations provided they do not need BLM field monitoring, oversight or BLM assistance of any kind, and are not operating in sites that have been closed.
I took the information given by a real, live person as the last word.
That was a mistake.
Obviously there is a lot of confusion, and the fact that national and local offices seem to be closed makes it almost impossible to straighten out the mess.
It’s probably best to drive to the local offices which likely will have notices posted on their boards.
And any sportsmen out there who has verified information about openings/closings in their areas could help their brothers-in-camo by posting their findings here, with any useful links.