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ARC shows shutdown impacts national parks financially

WASHINGTON — The American Recreation Coalition today issued a “report from the trenches” announcing the ramifications of the federal government shutdown as it pertains to national parks and monuments.

From Yosemite, Delaware North Companies reports that between today and Sunday, Yosemite will have 31,000 fewer visitors than it would have experienced, a reduction of 66 percent from what would be expected, plus $2.2 million less revenue. A total of 1,200 associates will experience a reduction in pay or benefits because of the government shut down. The situation deteriorates after Sunday as the park gets to zero visitors and no hours for associates. 

The $2.2 million in lost near-term revenues will result in concessioner fee collections to NPS being reduced by $220,000 (plus the entrance fees the government is not receiving) and tax payments to local and state governments will be reduced by $180,000, ARC noted.  In addition, government costs will increase due to payment of unemployment benefits to employees who have reduced hours and earnings. 

Tourism is the leading source of commerce in Mariposa, and the Mariposa economy will suffer at approximately double the impact of Yosemite alone.  Tuolumne, Madera and Inyo counties will be similarly impacted, according to ARC.  All this is in the face of the Rim Fire, which had a huge impact on the regional economies and on Yosemite. 

From a national perspective, Xanterra estimates that it is losing around $1 million dollars a day in revenue across its park operations in Crater Lake, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain and Zion. And although income has stopped, operating costs continue, ARC noted.  Xanterra has approximately 3,350 employees working in the parks right now, and virtually all face furloughs or layoffs, according to ARC.

From Pennsylvania at and near Gettysburg, Eisenhower National Historic Site will miss 1,500 visitors and see some $5,200 in lost revenues. Gettysburg Battlefield Tours will miss 2,500 visitors and see a drop in revenues of some $20,000 due to park road closures. Five to seen employees face furloughs.

From Florida, Everglades National Park Shark Valley Tram Tours will see a drop of 600 visitors and a drop in receipts of $17,000, and 15 employees face layoffs.

From Grand Teton in Wyoming, The shutdown will force the park to close our operations – more than 400 rooms – three days early.  The park would normally operate at about 70 percent of capacity during this beautiful time of the year,” ARC reported, noting the park will be releasing some employees early for the season.”

At Mt. Rushmore, the park estimates that closing for the week will impact 49,000 visitors and cost $247,095 in lost sales. About 38 employees per day are on furlough.

From Acadia in Maine, the park faces a $40,000 loss in sales from the restaurants and shops and 60 hourly employees have been laid off.

From Lassen in California, the park will lose $100,000 or more of revenue this week. It will be laying off all employees except key personnel — a total of about 25 — and have the logistical nightmare of what to do with food, perishable items and VERY unhappy guests, some of which are of course in route to the park from distant locations right now, ARC noted.

From San Francisco (Alcatraz) and New York City (Statue of Liberty), Alcatraz will lose 5,000 visitors a day, and the Statue of Liberty will lose about 12,000, or about 120,000 a week, and a loss of $500,000 per month. Estimating average spending for the ferry, food and souvenirs of $100 per visitor puts the loss at nearly $2 million per day, ARC estimated. The Hurricane Sandy-caused shutdown cost 130 Statue Cruises employees their jobs. Alcatraz would likely lose about 70, and 200 employees are at risk together.

SOURCE: American Recreation Coalition press release

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About Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a freelance writer and podcaster who has been writing about the RV industry since 2000. He is the former editor of RV Daily Report.

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