Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Close Following Government Shutdown

Your huddled masses are no longer welcome at the Statue of Liberty, due to the government shutdown that started after the U.S. Senate failed to reach a deal Friday night to keep the lights on.

While the Trump Administration has said that some national parks will remain open, despite over 21,000 Park Service employees being furloughed, the Statue of Liberty in New York was closed to visitors on Saturday. Ellis Island, which is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, is also closed.

Tourists hoping to visit the Statue of Liberty on Saturday were shocked to learn there was no ferry taking them from Battery Park to the statue.

Amparo Mendez, a 17-year-old Argentine exchange student, told Reuters she and a friend bought their ferry tickets online and was not told about the shutdown.

"If they knew it was being shut down, they should have told us," Mendez said.

"We came with the notion to see the Statue of Liberty, and it's not the same to see it from here," Brunella Pettoroso, Mendez's friend, told Reuters.

The two rolled their eyes when a Reuters reporter explained the situation in Washington.

"We're not coming back," Pettoroso replied.

Matthew Rutter, an employee of ferry operator Statue Cruises, told Reuters visitors are not angry at them, but are a "little bummed out." "They are mad at the government," Rutter added.

"I have to put more blame on the Republicans because they have all the control right now," Stephen O'Malley from Florida told Reuters. "But I don't blame it all on them. They should have been able to make a deal."

National parks are usually the first places where citizens feel the impact of a government shutdown. During the last government shutdown in 2013, Americans found the parks closed off. That created a scene when World War II veterans tried to visit the World War II memorial in Washington.

Trump has tried to avoid that by keeping open-air national parks open. However, there will be no staff to oversee security and other guests' needs. Other national parks that can be locked, like the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell and presidents' houses, will be closed.

The National Parks Conservation Association told The Washington Post that a third of the 417 national park sites were completely closed. Theresa Pierno, the NPCA's president, told the Post that keeping parks open without staff is risky.


"Keeping parks open with virtually no staff is a risky situation, and the guidance park staff is being given is vague at best," Pierno told the Post. "There is no substitute for National Park Service staff and their expertise, and it is not wise to put the public or our park resources at risk by allowing for half-measures to keep them open."

Photo credit: Twitter/ Statue of Liberty National Monument