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    National Park Service Will Tap Entrance Fees During Government Shutdown

    Joshua Roberts/REUTERS

    The National Park Service will tap entrance fees to cover expenses at some of its top sites as the government shutdown has cut off funding for maintenance, sanitation and public safety, the Washington Post reports. According to an order signed by the Interior Department’s acting secretary on Saturday, park administrators may hire additional staff to manage areas at risk of degradation amid the two-week budget stalemate. “As the lapse in appropriations continues, it has become clear that highly visited parks with limited staff have urgent needs that cannot be addressed solely through the generosity of our partners,” National Park Service Deputy Director Daniel Smith reportedly said on Sunday. “We are taking this extraordinary step to ensure that parks are protected, and that visitors can continue to access parks with limited basic services.” Whereas national parks were closed during the Obama and Clinton administrations instead of operating with minimal staffs, President Trump has decided to keep them open during the shutdown, the Washington Post notes. Some Congressional Democrats have questioned whether it’s legal for the National Park Service to use entrance fees for operations, as the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act requires this money to go toward visitor services, per the Washington Post.