If there's a federal government shutdown, what does it mean for national parks like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway?
All 394 national parks across the country would close. Park visitor center and other facilities would close. Education programs curtailed, special events cancelled, permits issued for special activities rescinded, hotels and campgrounds emptied and entrances secured.
• National park sites such as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Washington Monument, White House Visitor Center, Independence Hall, Yellowstone National Park, and visitor centers nationwide would close.
• Typically in April, NPS has 805,000 visits per day, and visitors spend $ 32 million per day in local economies.
• National parks support $13.3 billion of local private-sector economic activity and 267,000 private-sector jobs.
• The NPS budget occupies only 1/13th of one percent of our federal budget, yet there is a real threat of additional cuts to park funding.
• Nearly 372 events planned in national parks would be cancelled. The Park Service has a series of events planned to commemorate the 150thanniversary of the Civil War and places like Gettysburg and Fort Sumter. And special events are planned for National Parks Week, April 16-23.
Our national parks are critical to supporting the livelihood of businesses and communities across the country, so we have to do more than just keep them open. During a time of economic hardship, we need to adequately fund the places that protect our American heritage and draw tourists from throughout the world.