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Muir Woods to close during government shutdown [Updated]

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Other national parks still open, but hobbled

 By Jonathan Palagonia. A stream bed through forests in Muir Woods.

Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley will close to visitors on Monday, January 7, if the federal government does not resolve its budget standoff, according to the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

An impasse between Congress and the White House has left roughly 25 percent of the federal government suspended since December 21 (Pacific Time), with the Department of the Interior, which oversees national parks, among the affected institutions.

Most of the Bay Area’s federally-controlled park areas are sticking out the shutdown, albeit with diminished or suspended services that make visiting less convenient.

But the Park Conservancy, a non-profit organization that helps facilitate park services, says, “Muir Woods has been open but will close beginning Monday, January 7, if the shutdown continues.”

The National Park Service [NPS] confirms that Muir Woods will shut its non-doors soon.

NPS has not yet responded to requests for comment on why only some parks will shutter while others will remain open.

In December, KRON 4 reported that “Muir Woods is still open because of a partnership agreement [under which] parking attendants and employees who work in the cafe and gift shop are able to work during a government shutdown.”

[Update: NPS spokesperson Charles Strickfaden tells Curbed SF, “Thanks to donations from park concession operators Ace Parking and Muir Woods Trading Company, Muir Woods National Monument remained open during the government shutdown.

“The agreements will expire on Sunday, January 6 and after that date the agreements will not be renewed. On Monday, January 7, MUWO will close and no services will be provided.”

Strickfaden adds that a similar agreement with Alcatraz Tours keeps Alcatraz open (with limited service) during the shutdown. An arrangement in Stinson Park is due to expire Monday as well.]

The former landowners donated Muir Woods to the government in 1907 in a bid to preserve the old growth redwood forest. Teddy Roosevelt declared the woods a national monument in 1908.

The roughly 300-acres forest is one of the last of its kind in the state, and some its trees are over 1,000 years old.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area reports that it receives over 19,000,000 visitors yearly and employs 255 people. Its 2017 operating budget was just over $27 million, less than one 148,148th of the $4.14 trillion federal budget for the year.

Fort Point, Battery Townsley, Point Bonita Lighthouse, Battery Townsley, and the Nike Missile Site also remain closed.

Other regional national parks remain open, but many facilities within are closed, including most restrooms and parking lots.