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Federal government shutdown could hit national parks in San Francisco during Fleet Week

Hundreds of people converge to watch the Fleet Week air show in San Francisco in 2022. | Source: Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

An impending government shutdown already threatening San Francisco’s Fleet Week could also prevent the public from accessing some of the event’s best park views.

That’s because the shutdown—set for 12:01 a.m. Sunday if Congress doesn’t pass a funding plan that the president signs into law—would bring to a halt the National Park Service, which manages some of the best vistas to watch the annual aerial festivities that make up Fleet Week. 

During Fleet Week, attendees get some of their best free views of the overhead spectacle from San Francisco parks, with Tunnel Tops, Battery Bluff and Francisco Park offering up some of the best places to catch the legendary air show.

READ MORE: Could U.S. Government Shutdown Cancel San Francisco Fleet Week?

If a shutdown happens, San Francisco park lovers are urged to stay away from the public spaces due to lack of services at the sites, according to federal officials.

“This means that the majority of national parks will be closed completely to public access,” the U.S. Interior Department said in a press release. “Areas that, by their nature, are physically accessible to the public will face significantly reduced visitor  services. At [National Park Service] sites across the country, gates will be locked, visitor centers will be closed, and thousands of park rangers will be furloughed.”

Some sites will be locked down, but others that are physically accessible to the public and are deemed impossible or impractical to restrict access to would remain open, the Department of the Interior stated. 

Additionally, the federal agency said, staffing levels and services such as restroom and sanitation maintenance, trash collection, road maintenance, campground operations and emergency operations will vary from site to site and are not guaranteed.

Although some emergency operations will be affected, the Interior Department said the National Park Service would “continue activities necessary to protect life and property.”  Those operations include law enforcement and emergency response, as well as fire response and production of power and maintenance of the power system.

Additionally, concession businesses that operate in publicly accessible parts of National Park Service sites may continue to operate during the shutdown as long as no federal resources are required to support the location other than safety and security.