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What the 2013 Government Shutdown Means to America’s National Parks

No Hiking in National Parks

No Hiking in National Parks

With a Government shutdown looming over the ongoing “debate” on the Patient Protections and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, life as we know it could change drastically. While ideologically fighting for a cause is good, shutting down the workings of the government is extremely short-sighted.

 

If no deal is reached by midnight on Monday, the government will shut down and numerous closures will occur. For many, the impact will be minimal, but everyone will feel something. For us, the news is huge. Government run lands will be closed, meaning operators are unable to perform tours in National Parks. With a loss of income to small businesses, other local businesses we frequent will get less revenue and the circle will continue. This is not good news for anyone…

Soon this area will be closed....

Soon this area will be closed….

According to a press release by the Interior Department on Friday, “All national parks and federal wildlife refuges would be closed for the duration of the shutdown.” This means gates will be closed, reservations will be cancelled and plans will be ruined because Congress is unable to get anything done.  According to USA Today, about 9 million visitors were turned away from parks, museums and monuments run by the National Park Service in the mid-1990s, the last time the government shut down for 21 days.

 

9 million visitors in 21 days. If each visitor was to spend $10 in the communities around National Parks, small towns that thrive off of tourism could have made $90,000,000. This is nothing to laugh at. The small towns and small businesses need consistent cash flow, and being held hostage by government infighting does no good at all. Instead, small communities who rely on traffic in and out of the National Parks will be directly impacted. I can promise that if this shutdown happens, numerous small business owners will be forced to close their doors as well.

 

If you love our National Parks and Refuges, small business and tour operators and want to support them, call your Congressperson NOW. (Link: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/) Otherwise, get outside, enjoy your parks and hope that come Tuesday, October 1st, you will be able to still enjoy them.

PAUL SAKUMA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

PAUL SAKUMA, ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

More on the impending Government Shutdown:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/17/travel/national-parks-budget-cuts/index.html

 

 

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