When the government shutdown began October 1, 2013, thousands of National Park Service employees were immediately furloughed from their jobs. All National Parks and Monuments closed the gates. This left several thousand of tourists-both national and international-with thwarted itineraries.
At the Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, tour buses were turned back. Tour guides and travel agencies came up with hasty alternative plans. While park rangers might be chagrined to take unexpected leave without pay; foreign tourists who had paid an extra $1,000 or so to visit the National Parks in the United States were stymied.
There is yet another group that finds themselves suddenly shut out of their place of work. The roughly 27,000 employees (not to mention volunteers) who staff the visitor’s center bookstores at National Park Service sites all across the United States, can no longer go to work.
According to the CNMA website "Colorado National Monument Association (CNMA), a nonprofit organization, exists solely to assist and support the Colorado National Monument. Proceeds from our retail operations, memberships, and donations support the Monument’s educational, interpretive, and scientific programs, helping visitors better understand and connect to this premier geologic and recreational gem in Western Colorado."
The bookstore at the Colorado National Monument Visitor’s Center is staffed by two full-time and two part-time workers. Though CNMA is not a part of the government, retail operations are carried out on National Parks property. During the shut down, staff may no longer travel to their usual workplace, four miles into the park from the Fruita entrance.
For fifty years the Colorado National Monument Association has supported Colorado National Monument. Now, as house guests of Dinosaur Journey and Museum of Western Colorado, the retail staff have set up a temporary place for sales outside the Monument.
From the auditorium in Dinosaur Journey, Colorado National Monument Association offers T-shirts and mugs; postcards and lapel pins; wildlife and wildflower books.
Dinosaur Journey Museum is located at 550 Jurassic Court, Highway 340, in Fruita, Colorado.