On January 19, Congress failed to pass a bill to fund the federal government, causing a shutdown — but a partial closure of national park sites puts people and places at risk.

Congress has failed to fulfill its responsibility to fund the federal government, which has now closed for business.

Many of our national parks are closed as well. However, the Department of the Interior has decided to keep some parks open, but with closed facilities, no services and without the necessary staff to safely operate the parks. Leaving park gates open with little to no staff compromises visitor safety and jeopardizes park resources.

NPCA estimates that approximately a third of our 417 national park sites are now completely closed, including places like Ford’s Theatre, the Statue of Liberty, presidential homes, and other historic and cultural sites primarily made up of buildings that can be locked. Other park sites will remain semi-open, and what is accessible to the public will differ from park to park.

Having such limited staff at national parks puts visitors at greater risk. National park rangers are on the front lines of visitor safety, making people aware of risks, patrolling dangerous areas, conducting search and rescue efforts, and coordinating with state and local emergency crews to aid people who need help. National park visitors regularly undertake vigorous exercise, swimming in ocean currents, hiking trails near thousand-foot drop-offs, navigating remote mountains and canyons, and driving dirt roads many miles from gas stations. Even with a skeleton crew of the most essential law enforcement officials and search-and-rescue personnel who are permitted to remain on duty during the shutdown, the Park Service puts itself and visitors at risk when it operates without a more complete crew of rangers and staff to ensure the greater attention to safety that parks require.

National parks — and visitors — cannot be adequately protected without the expertise of the National Park Service.

Protecting national parks should be a bipartisan issue. Congress should do its job and provide the needed resources to fully staff and properly operate our parks.


  • More than 11,000 Urge Congress to Avoid Government Shutdown

    Oct 2015

    National park advocates contacted Congress and urged them to keep national parks open by avoiding a government shutdown.

  • 17,000 Take Action to Restore Park Funding

    Dec 2015

    Thousands of national park supporters asked Congress to restore park funding for 2016.

  • Nearly 12,000 Contact Congress in Support of President's Budget for Parks

    Jul 2016

    NPCA supporters stood up for national parks by asking Congress to support the president's proposed budget for parks.

  • More Than 12,000 Speak Up for Better Funding

    Jul 2016

    Thousands of park supporters contacted their representative and asked them to pass legislation that would better fund national parks without including policy provisions that would damage them.

  • More than 12,000 Contact Congress to Pass the NPS Centennial Act

    Nov 2016

    Thousands of national park supporters let Congress know the time is now to provide our national parks with the financial boost they need as they enter their next century.

  • 17,500 Contacted Congress for Better Park Funding

    Jan 2018

    Park advocates nationwide urged Congress to reject the president's proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 and instead help parks recover from years of underfunding.

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