Services are limited but the parks are open.

The first thing to need to know before heading to any of the national parks or the Colorado National Monument is that entry onto park property is at the visitor's own risk. During the shutdown, normal accessible parts of the parks and monument are open to visitors, but there won't be any services provided. That includes trash collection and restroom clean up.

All the western Colorado national parks are in a similar situation as only parts of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Dinosaur National Monument is accessible to the public. The visitor centers at the parks will remain closed.

If you're thinking about a winter camping trip, campground permits are not available. However, if you set up camp you'll not be asked to leave. If you head to the park for a hike or to camp you're asked to remove all your trash and not toss it into the trash cans. There is no service and we don't want trash cans overflowing. Be respectful of others visiting the parks and plan to leave nothing behind.

The first national park "Free Day" is coming up on Martin Luther King Day, January 21st. Admission to all the national parks is waived on that day. Let's hope the politicians can hammer out a deal so the parks can back to business soon.

Credit: GJ Sentinel