Government shutdown forces closures of 401 national parks

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

WASHINGTON — Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service has closed all 401 national parks and suspended operation of dozens of community assistance programs.

All park grounds, visitor centers, hotels, campgrounds, and park roads – except for thru ways – are closed. All programs are canceled and permits issued for special events on park grounds nationwide are rescinded.

Park visitors in all overnight campgrounds and lodges have been given until no later than 6:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, October 3 to make other arrangements and leave the park.

National parks will remain closed until the government reopens.

The National Park System hosts more than 282 million people per year, and more than 715,000 people per day in October. Those visitors spend about $76 million per day in communities near national parks.

Examples of impacts of a shutdown of the National Park Service include:

  • 15,000 people a day planning to visit the Statue of Liberty will have their reservations cancelled.
  • All mule trips in Grand Canyon National Park, an iconic tradition dating back more than 125 years, will be cancelled.
  • More than 7,500 people a day coming to enjoy Old Faithful and the other splendors of Yellowstone National Park will be turned away.
  • The cancellation of thousands of interpretive and education programs and special events at parks across the country. 

An October shutdown is costing the National Park Service an estimated $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping.

The shutdown will affect more than 20,000 National Park Service employees, who are furloughed until an appropriation is passed (3,000 employees continue to work, providing essential services, including security, emergency services and firefighting). Additionally, approximately 25,000 concession employees are employed in national parks during the summer and about half of them are still on the job in early October.

Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown, closing off access to 750,000 web pages about national parks and programs. NPS.gov is used extensively for educational purposes and travel planning by 91 million unique visitors every year.

For updates on the shutdown, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown

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