The 2013 Government Shutdown of the Olympic National Park cost the Olympic Peninsula nearly 3.5 million dollars. With 42,000 less visitors in the 16 days of the closure of the National parks, the already struggling economy of the Olympic Peninsula took the brunt of petty fighting between elected officials in Washington, DC. While other areas of the country may be able to handle losing 3.5 million dollars of revenue in 16 days, the Olympic Peninsula is not one of those places.
Devastated by being solely dependent on logging and fishing, the Olympic Peninsula has started embracing tourism. With the popularity of Twilight, as well as the ever-increasing desire to experience nature, tourists from around the world have added the Olympic National Park to their bucket-lists. Sadly, our elected government officials, voted in by all of us, continue to think that National Parks can be exploited for personal gain, with some even calling for privatization of the National Parks.
While most of America has forgotten about the government shutdown, all but ignoring the closure of the National Parks, we here at Exotic Hikes are still feeling the economic impact. Like all local businesses that rely on tourism, the government shutdown was tough. The month of October typically has over 175,000 visitors to the area, but in 2013, we had just 137,000, most of which were locals. The month of October was also one of the driest on record, meaning that visitors who had to cancel their plans missed out on dry trails, clear skies and amazing camping in the rainforest.
While we would greatly appreciate your business, either by booking a tour or buying one of our guidebooks, we want to remind you to vote for officials who put nature as a priority. Without the National Parks, America loses one of the main drawing attractions for international tourism and foreign money. Being held hostage by the government and losing 3.4 million dollars to the region should be a wakeup call. It is time to come together to protect and respect America’s best idea, the National Parks.
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