Date: 12/31/18 3:17 pm From: <clearwater...> Subject: [obol] Re: [midvalleybirds] Update on refuge closures due to government shutdown
That would be my interpretation too, and I haven't heard otherwise through the grapevine. Presumably if you use the trails that are normally open in this season (i.e. not goose-closure areas) that should be OK.
On the other hand, I'd imagine that "presence of a federal employee" could start to be seen as a necessity if there is damage to the resources/infrastructure. For example, the couch-dumping incident that I mentioned at McFadden.
So I'd encourage responsible NWR users to take some ownership of the situation, and keep an eye open for criminal or destructive behavior that might lead to more general restrictions.
From: "Mary Garrard" <springazure1...>
To: "Alan Contreras" <acontrer56...>
Cc: "clearwater" <clearwater...>, "OBOL" <obol...>
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2018 2:58:25 PM
Subject: Re: [obol] Re: [midvalleybirds] Update on refuge closures due to government shutdown
That’s my interpretation too, just wondered if anyone had first-hand knowledge…..
On Dec 31, 2018, at 2:52 PM, Alan Contreras < <acontrer56...> > wrote:
Unless it is posted or gated, what’s the problem? It’s not an area that normally requires any staff.
On Dec 31, 2018, at 2:51 PM, Mary Garrard < <springazure1...> > wrote:
I’m wondering about the first paragraph ("where public access to refuge lands does not require the presence of a federal employee or contractor, activities on refuge lands will be allowed to continue on the same terms as before”), and whether it permits, for example, walking in to the blind at McFadden Marsh. It seems to me that the presence of a federal employee is not necessary in that case, thus, allowed.
On Dec 31, 2018, at 9:29 AM, <clearwater...> wrote:
Trying to find some more information on the situation at Willamette Valley refuges, I found this link:
"... as of December 26, 2018, all units of the National Wildlife Refuge System nationwide are closed to public visitation and use, subject to the conditions and exceptions described below. This national closure determination and notice is necessitated by a lapse in funds appropriated by the United States Congress for the operation of the National Wildlife Refuge System and will remain in effect until funding is restored."
The key conditions and exceptions relevant for local birders and other members of the wildlife-viewing public would seem to be:
"2. Members of the public who are currently visiting certain units of the National Wildlife Refuge System must vacate the refuge immediately. However, where public access to refuge lands does not require the presence of a federal employee or contractor, activities on refuge lands will be allowed to continue on the same terms as before the appropriations lapse, including any activities conducted under a previously issued permit."
"7. This closure determination and notice does not apply to roads that pass through units of the National Wildlife Refuge System which provide primary access between points located outside of the refuges. Members of the public may continue to use those roads during the shutdown period. However, refuge managers may not expend any appropriated funds to maintain or repair those roads. Moreover, refuge managers may close those roads, or portions of those roads ... if such closure is warranted by weather, poor road conditions, or other circumstances."
The last paragraph would seem to apply to Bruce Rd. and McFarland Rd. at Finley, Coville Rd. at Baskett Slough NWR, and Buena Vista Rd. at Ankeny NWR. It might also apply to Finley (Refuge) Rd., though there's room for interpretation.
Word last week was that someone dumped off a couch at McFadden Marsh. Hopefully dumping incidents or other vandalism won't become common as the shutdown drags on. If you do see things like this happening, please contact local law enforcement.