By Nick Worth
Tuesday’s shutdown of the federal government put 48 workers on furlough from Petrified Forest National Park, according to Park Superintendent Brad Traver.
The same scenario occurred over the entire system of National Parks in Arizona and across the country Tuesday morning. Yosemite National Park had to shut its gates on the date of its 123rd anniversary.
A call to the Petrified Forest Park was met with a recorded message saying no phone calls would be answered while the government shutdown is in effect.
“Yes, the park is closing now,” said Traver, when reached by cell phone. He said he would continue working along with a skeleton crew.
“We’ll have about five others besides myself,” Traver said.
“We’re not getting paid,” Traver said. “We won’t get paid until after the shutdown is over. We may not be paid then.”
In the meantime, Traver and his crew have to protect the closed park.
“We’re securing the park,” said Traver. “We’re securing the government’s investment in the park.”
Traver said the small crew is also necessary to ensure certain services are still available in the park.
“We’re making sure residents who live here still have water and sewer services, Traver said.
He said the volunteers who work at the park are also affected by the shutdown, even though they don’t get a government paycheck.
“They’re residents of the park, but they won’t be able to work,” Traver said. “They’re in the same boat as the rest of us.”
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By Nick Worth