With the United States deep into its 2013 government shutdown, national parks and monuments across the nation remain shuttered. With those closures, tourism-dependent dollars are lost to local businesses and communities, states, and the nation. Under the impacts of a federal shutdown into its second week, hundreds of millions of dollars are lost to local communities dependent on tourism. The National Parks Conservation Association, a non-partisan, non-governmental advocacy organization supporting America’s national parks, indicates $450,000 in revenues are lost by the park service every day with local gateway communities losing as much as $30 million each day that the national parks are closed.
With the 2013 federal shutdown in double digit days, all 401 National Park System sites remain closed. More than 21,000 National Park Service employees are furloughed, and as many as 750,000 visitors are turned away daily. This pain is magnified against the fact that the budget to operate US national parks, in today’s dollars, is already 13% less than it was three years ago, a loss of $315 million attributable to budget cuts.
US national parks are big business as well as enjoyment and essential interaction with American heritage. Visitation, heritage, and educational programs are disrupted by the shutdown. Experiences designed to create lifetime memories are lost due to closures. Negative impacts ripple in significant numbers. This nation’s parks attract nearly 300 million visitors and support more than $30 billion in private-sector spending. Nine out of 10 Americans have visited a national park; one in five international visitors go to a park service unit during a visit to America. The National Parks Conservation Association indicates national parks generate $10 in economic activity for every federal dollar invested.
A continued government shutdown deeply impacts America’s 401 national parks across the country, rips at the livelihood of park businesses, gateway communities, and the tourism industry, and sadly affects countless American families and international visitors, who rely on America’s national parks being open for business.
Can you do anything?
Have a perspective that demands action? Concerned citizens can take action on NPCA’s website and continue using the Capitol Switchboard at 202.224.3121 to speak directly with their representatives’ offices. Also, you can follow ongoing shutdown information related to the closure of America's national parks at the NPCA’s Park Advocate Blog.
Find the take in this article to be helpful? National and International Travel and Recreation as well as National Education and Industry materials come from a husband and wife creative team, who travel extensively as photonaturalists and writers. One is an experienced research scientist with a doctorate in Material Sciences and background in optics research. The other is former Vice President of GKE (Global Knowledge Exchange), who served as a US Web-based Education Commissioner during the Clinton administration, and was a former US National Tech&Learning Teacher of the Year.
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