Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Federal shutdown reaches Quartzsite

While finger-pointing runs wild on the East coast, the effect on RVers is reaching out to the West coast. The federal government shutdown on Tuesday, October 1, made its way to the West's snowbird capital, Quartzsite.

Each year as cold weather moves in, literally thousands of RVers move into the Quartzsite area to winter over. Many turn to the federal Bureau of Land Management's Long Term Visitor Areas (LTVAs) where they can purchase a permit to stay through mid-April.

On Tuesday, no flags were flying at any of the LTVAs. Instead, orange-colored notices on the doors of the entrance stations spelled out the effects of the federal shutdown.

Among other points listed, these are of greatest interest to would-be visitors:

"This Site will be closed for the duration of the shutdown.

"No amenities will be available to the public during the shutdown.

"Persons unlawfully entering the site during the shutdown may be subject to criminal fines and or penalties.

"Visitors should vacate this site 48 hours after this posting."

How does posting compare with practice? While the entrance stations are unmanned, we were able to have a word with an on-site host. They told us that under the direction of the managing ranger, those visitors who had already bought permits and moved on site were told to, "sit tight and wait." New arrivals are being told they could not buy a permit, and were being told to perhaps stay on one of the area two-week visitor sites to, "wait and see what happens."

A few RVs were in evidence on the four LTVAs, and a handful of rigs were parked in the two-week short term areas. It's still a bit early in the season, but if by some chance the government shutdown does continue, the impact on Quartzsite's visitors will be far more reaching.

photos: R&T De Maris

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