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Government Shutdown & National Park Closures

We just got word from the National Parks Conservation Association, that as a potential government shutdown looms, National Parks could close across the country. This could happen as early as Friday, March. 4, 2011. Check out the facts below, and listen to the audio recording from John Garder, Budget & Appropriations Legislative Representative for the National Parks Conservation Association.

“There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias and redwoods, the Canyon of the Colorado, the Canyon of the Yellowstone, the Three Tetons; and our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their children's children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred."  ~ Theodore Roosevelt

What Happens if Our National Parks Close?

- Not only will a government shutdown jeopardize family vacations or school field trips, but it could also have a significant impact on local communities who depend on the economic return.

- This could also impact tourism and special events in national parks across the country. In DC, visitors travel from across the world for the Cherry Blossom Festival and they would not be able to visit places like the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial or Jefferson Memorial. The National Park Service has a series of events planned to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and places like Gettysburg or Manassas battlefield would need to turn school groups away.  

- During the last government shutdown, thousands of people who depended of the parks—employees of the Park Service, concessions operations, and the businesses in neighboring communities—found themselves out of work and without customers.  

- According to the Department of Interior, the shutdown in 1995 & 1996 cost park dependent communities an estimated $14 million daily.

Economic Points to Know:

- National parks are national treasures in 49 states, visited by nearly 300 million people annually and benefiting rural and urban communities nationwide.

- A recent study commissioned by the National Parks Conservation Association found that every federal dollar invested in national parks generates at least four dollars of economic value to the public.

- National parks support $13.3 billion of local private-sector economic activity and 267,000 private-sector jobs.

National Park Service Facts During the Government Shutdown in 1995 & 1996:

- Closed the national parks for 27 days total (Nov. 14-19 and Dec. 16 - Jan. 6)

- Emptied campgrounds, hotels, canceled reservations, weddings, etc.

- Lost about 2 million visitors

- Cut all but 1% of essential NPS staff (only 4 essential employees worked in DC)

- No hunting was allowed in parks

- Parks that have entrance gates were closed; historic sites closed

- Fencing around monuments

- For recreation areas used law enforcement to keep people out

- Public health & safety was #1 priority

Learn more about the National Parks Conservation Association at

Goverment Shutdown & National Park Closures
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