The 16-day shutdown of the federal government had a tremendous impact on our national parks, which were already suffering from chronic underfunding. For the first time in 17 years, Congress shuttered America’s most cherished places, turning away millions of visitors and putting 21,000 Park Service employees out of work.
The local communities that depend on the parks took the biggest blow. From hotels and restaurants to outfitters and concessionaires, the economic impact of national park closures and the loss of visitor spending reached $500 million, according to an Office of Management and Budget report on the shutdown.
To make matters worse, the short-term, temporary budget deal that allowed national parks to reopen only continues the damaging cuts of the sequester. At a time when public support for them has been front-page news, our national parks—and the people who enjoy and depend on them—continue to suffer from a failed budget process.
Now, congressional leadership and the budget conference committee have an opportunity to end this damaging cycle by calling on Congress to restore funding for the National Park Service budget.
RECENT BLOG COVERAGE
- Why Don't States Run National Parks?
- Small Potatoes in a Big Standoff: National Parks Reopen, but Remain Threatened by a Broken Budget Process
- The 9 Best Things We Saw Online During the Government Shutdown
- National Parks Are a Grand Bargain: Congress Must Stop the Damage to America’s Best Idea
- Q&A: Why Were Visitors Shut Out of National Parks During the Government Shutdown?
- Why Can’t Visitors Walk In to “Open-Air” Parks?