The government shutdown has far reaching implications for every facet of the American population and reaches to US owned properties and parks overseas, such as the closing of the American Cemetery in France. For riders, travel plans must be reevaluated and changed in consideration of the shutdown. Some of their favorite destinations are boarded up with signs proclaiming "Closed due to lack of appropriations, sorry for the inconvenience" posted at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and other areas. The areas are closed, but those travelers who have already made plans are diverting their routes to different attractions and nearby locations. Where are they going instead?
Some of the favorite destinations that are closed and alternative sites for visitors follows:
Grand Canyon National Park - CLOSED. Visitors can divert to Bearizona in Williams-a drive thru wildlife park and gateway to the Grand Canyon, Monument ValleyNavajo Tribal Park and other tribal parks, Sedona, AZ and all State Parks including Slide Rock State Park and Red Rock State Park.
Mt. Rushmore National Monument, Badlands National Monument, and Jewel Cave - CLOSED. Mt. Rushmore National Monument and others may be closed due to the government shutdown, but the highways are open including Iron Mountain Road, albeit the pull off parking areas have been blocked off and visitors have to vie for space on the side of the road. Even the websites are closed. If one were to navigate to the Mt. Rushmore National Monument, Badlands National Monument or Jewel Cave government websitses, they would find this message "Because of the federal government shutdown, all National Parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating. For more information, go to www.doi.gov." Web visitors will automatically be redirected. Alternatives for visitors include state parks such as Custer State Park and highways such as Needles Highway which are open. Needles Highway is closed during the winter from mid October through April, however, due to inclement weather conditions. Blizzard weather in this area has made the impact of closures negligible, as tourism begins to slow down and even halt during severe weather.
Yellowstone National Park - CLOSED. Visitors cannot visit Yellowstone National Park, but Yellowstone State Park is open as an alternative. Like other areas, State Parks are seeing a surge in visitors while the government shutdown continues.
Great Smokey Mountains National Park - CLOSED. The closure, however, is not keeping visitors away. Like the Grand Canyon, the shutdown can not take away the awesome views. According to ABC News 6 in Knoxville, the Newfound Gap Parking Area has reopened, all the quiet walkway trails and other hiking trails are back open as well, except for the Chimneys hiking trail and Alum Cave trailhead. They remain closed.
Yosemite National Park - CLOSED. Carmen George of the Fresno Bee wrote "While Yosemite's five hotels and camps will be closed, lodges at private communities in the park's boundaries are still accepting reservations: Wawona, Yosemite West and Foresta. However, guests will have to stay near those communities. During the shutdown, stopping to enjoy the scenery or taking a hike is prohibited. Roads to Glacier Point and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias are also closed."
Rocky Mountain National Park - CLOSED. An alternative is Estes Park, although flooding last month has had an effect on this area. With the park and Trail Ridge Road closed on the western approach to town, and U.S. 34 and U.S. 36 closed on the east, your only choice is a slow trek up the Peak to Peak Highway north from Black Hawk. Riders are unlikely to make this trek this time of year.
Also CLOSED; Olympic, Grand Teton, Zion, Acadia and Cuyahoga Valley.
Closer to home, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park, Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, are all CLOSED. Alternatives include 22 State parks across the Bayou state and scenic byways, while the weather is conducive to riders in the south.
The impact to riders may not be significant in northern areas due to weather conditions, but in the south, where year round riding is possible, that is just not the case. The tourism industry will take a hit across the United States and overseas because of the government shutdown. This will be something riders will talk about for years to come.