Government Shutdown Leaves Crater Lake Visitors High And Dry
Despite winter storms, the National Park Service is not plowing roads or helping lost tourists due to the partial government shutdown. It’s created a dangerous situation for anyone choosing to venture into the snow.
The main entry roads to the lake are closed, but people can still strap on their skis and head into the park at their own risk. There was a severe weather warning as of Wednesday morning.
Sheila Powley owns the Whispering Pines Motel, one of the few businesses just outside the park.
“If you go off the road, there’s no one there to call,” Powley said. “And there’s no connectivity up there. Cell phones don’t work. So you’re literally lost in the wilderness.”
Powley recalls how the 2013 government shutdown led many people to her motel.
“People come through, they’re expecting to be able to stop somewhere,” Powley said. “And they stop here. And they want to know if they can use the phone, if they can get chains, if we have gasoline for them, becauses there’s been nothing all the way around.”
There's more than 50 inches of snow around Crater Lake. The park’s website tells visitors to call 9-1-1 if they need help, although cell phone connections in the area can be spotty.