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VANCOUVER -- Since early Tuesday morning, visitors to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site have been greeted with a sign that reads: Because of the government shutdown, all national parks are closed.

Those who want to visit the park's website are greeted with the same message, and redirected to the United States Department of Interior homepage for a message from President Obama.

Congress has failed to meet its responsibility to pass a budget before the fiscal year that begins today, Obama's message reads. And that means much of our Government must shut down effective today

Click to read the letter

The closure is a casualty of the first U.S. government shutdown since 1996. The House and Senate Monday could not come to an agreement on a temporary funding bill.

More: Congress plunges nation into government shutdown

Visitor centers, educational programs and other facilities at Oregon's Crater Lake, Nez Perce and Lewis and Clark national parks are closed, according to the Interior Department. Permits for special events in the parks are rescinded.

People who are already staying at campgrounds and hotels in the parks have been notified and were given 48 hours to make other arrangements.

Most law enforcement personnel in the parks will still be on duty, as will firefighters and most disaster assistance agencies.

Dept. of the Interior: Contingency plan fact sheet

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also closed, meaning public access to all National Wildlife Refuges is closed off. All activities on refuge lands, including hunting and fishing, are suspended.

In addition to the national parks and wildlife refuges, agencies like NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency were all but shuttered Tuesday. Government employees considered essential, like food inspectors, Border Patrol agents and air traffic controllers, will continue to work.

Click here for a national parks FAQ sheet

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