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CULLOWHEE — A Western Carolina University economist estimates that the first 10 days of the partial shutdown of the federal government cost more than $33 million in lost visitor spending in the 18 North Carolina and Tennessee counties located within 60 miles of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A separate look at the impact on national parks ranked the Smokies’ losses as the largest among the country’s most popular destinations.
The shutdown prompting the closure of popular park campgrounds and visitor centers has resulted in more than $12 million in lost wages for workers, $1.8 million in lost state taxes and $1 million in lost local taxes for municipalities and counties, the WCU study indicates.