Conrad Meadows, near Naches, Wash., is still accessible despite the current federal government shutdown.

Photo: Daniel Chappel

Yesterday, in case you didn't know, was Yosemite's birthday. She's (and yes, I said she) turned 123 years young yesterday. For her birthday, our federal government has given her--and every other park like her--a vacation due to the current government shutdown. But where does this pertain to, exactly? Finding that out was a little bit of an Easter egg hunt--the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and National Parks Service (NPS) websites are currently down.

Here's what I did find out:

Any public lands developed and ran by USFS, NPS, and the Bureau of Land Management are closed until Washington can get things sorted out. (Hopefully soon!) Yes, that includes any national monuments and museums. Developed includes any offices, bathroom facilities, campgrounds not operated by concessionaries, day-use areas, shooting ranges, off-road vehicle trails, USFS roads that lead to a paid facility, and basically anything you would have to directly pay a ranger to use.

Campgrounds operated by concessionaries (from the research I've done) will be open at the discretion of the concessionary. Your local news is a great way to find out if the areas you ride in are closed. All of the sources I used to find this information were from specific areas of the United States. But, they all had the same information.

Also, undeveloped areas of USFS land (for example, wilderness areas and trailheads that don't require a fee) are still accessible. No garbage pick up or maintenance will take place on the trailheads, so make sure you're using "leave no trace" (packing out everything you take with you).

A good rule of thumb: If you have to pay a USFS ranger, it's currently closed.

Also, not every public park is closed to recreation. Our state parks are still completely open. Here is a great site to find a state park near you. While the shutdown is serious, don't let it stop you from doing what you love! There are some wonderful state parks out there for you to enjoy with your horses.

 What is your favorite state park? Of course, we'd all love to hear what you love about it! 

Oh, there is one other option to "visit" (or at least see) a National Park right now.