Government Shutdown Closes Trails Center

A BLM sign posted on the closed gate of the National Historic Trails Center explains that it is closed due to the federal government shutdown. The Trails Center is located at 1501 N. Poplar St., next to the Events Center in Casper. (Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

Aspiring pioneers looking to Casper’s National Historic Trails Interpretive Center for guidance will have to search elsewhere. The ongoing shutdown of the federal government has forced the Trails Center to close its doors, since December 22nd.

The Trails Center is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. The lapse in funding to the BLM, as a result of the shutdown, has put the interpretive center’s activities on pause. Trails Center director Carrie Reece expressed concern for employees affected by the shutdown.

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“These are people who live in the local community and it is a shame to have local families affected by this,” she explained.

Reece added that the Trails Center’s programmed activity, which includes educational activities for the community’s youth, had been put on hold.

“We hope to backtrack and hold [activities] when we can, but nobody knows anything right now,” said Reece. “We’re not allowed on the property. We don’t have access. It kind of alters all of our schedules.”

The Trails Center director was also concerned about the visitors who the center has been unable to service.

“We know that we missed a ton of visitors over Christmas break,” said Reece.

According to Visit Casper’s CEO Brook Kaufman, the Trails Center saw more than 33,000 visitors in fiscal year 2018. Tourists impacted by the shutdown have other options for visitor services, however.

“We want to ensure that people know that visitor services are still available,” said Kaufman.

She added that visitor guides and information are available at Visit Casper’s downtown office, located at 139 W. 2nd St., Suite 1B across from the Fox Movie Theater in Casper.

Visit Casper also posted a sign on the Trails Center gate notifying would-be visitors that information is available at their downtown office. (Brendan LaChance, Oil City)

Tourists looking for guides and information can obtain these at Visit Casper’s office inside the Mineral Resource Center building. (Brendan LaChance, Oil City)