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Government Shutdown: What Travelers Can Still Do, and What's Closed

There are lots of long, explaining articles about what's causing the shutdown, but they don't make it easy to figure out what's closed for travelers and what's open. We'll make this short and sweet.


Here's what's closed:


* National Park units are closed. That means everything, even outdoor monuments. Overnight lodgers have until Thursday to vacate. (In what appears to be a form of protest, all the NPS twitter accounts declared themselves "inactive" yesterday morning.)


* On Friday, October 11, Colorado and Utah opened Rocky Mountain National Park, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Captial Reef National Park, and Zion National Park. National Bridges and Cedar Breaks national monuments and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are also open. Funding is currently scheduled to run out after 10 days. 


* Primary arteries that cross through some national parks (such as U.S. 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC) are likely to be open, but all parking areas, restrooms, and tributary roads are closed. You will not be allowed to pull over to hike or admire the view.


* National museums, archives, and most presidential libraries are closed. This includes the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo. (Animals and archive materials will be cared for by a skeleton staff.) Washington, DC, is most affected by these closures.


* Because Ford's Theatre uses a federal building, performances have been moved to other area auditoriums.


* San Francisco's Alcatraz Prison is closed, but the ferry company that is contracted to bring tourists to it is running tours past the island.


* Two dozen overseas cemeteries, including the Normandy American Cemetery and others operated by the American Battle Monuments Commission, are closed.


Here's what you can still do:


* Air Traffic Control is running normally.


* The TSA is running normally.


* Border control, immigration, and customs are running normally.


* Amtrak is running normally.


* You can still apply for a passport since those services are supported by fees, but if the office is located in a federal building, it will be closed.


* The Federal Aviation Administration is running but it has furloughed some 3,000 inspectors, raising concerns about safety and delays.


* Embassies and consulates are open, and because visas are supported by fees, they should be processed normally, but in past shutdowns, processing has slowed.


* Because most attractions are private, the vast majority of them remain open.


* State-run services such as state parks should be open as normal, but if they are supported by federal funds, they may be closed.


* During the shutdown, although the government won't be working for you, you still have to pay full taxes.