What are the repercussions of entering National parks during the US Government shutdown?

There's a trail near my house that I go to almost every week. It's really just a fence with a gate in it. I didn't realize it was national park until yesterday when I went there and there were temporary orange signs saying park closed due to the federal government shutdown. I looked it up and indeed it is a national park.

Does that mean that it's truly 'illegal' to walk on the trail? Or that it's just not patrolled (I've never seen a government employee in there anyhow)?

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    The steward at a nearby state park has told me in the past that entering when the park is closed is trespassing. Presumably the same would be true for closed parks at any level. Oct 7, 2013 at 15:50
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    @Joe We tested out this question this weekend. I believe it is illegal to enter National Park land (but who will stop you). However, it is still legal to enter National Forest land. National Forest have never had gates to lock you out. The campgrounds are all closed, though. Oct 7, 2013 at 16:00
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    Please do not use comments to answer questions. If you have an answer to a question, please answer it below. Thanks. Oct 7, 2013 at 18:35
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    These comments don't really constitute a full, substantiated answer yet. Oct 8, 2013 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


Just saw it on the news that they were handing out $100 fines for walking the trials at Valley Forge National Park. Runner Fined

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    who is policing this - that has to be a waste of money :-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Oct 9, 2013 at 17:20
  • @RoryAlsop - Assuming all goes well. But stop policing it and you'll get more people doing it, then the first person to get hurt will circle the lawyers and run up a bill. Oct 10, 2013 at 17:40
  • Sad but true Don. I was not really being serious.
    – Rory Alsop
    Oct 10, 2013 at 17:50

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