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National park retirees bemoan shut down losses

(Oct. 10, 2013) -- CNPSR-gathered figures show that the shutdown is resulting in 715,000 visitors lost daily (based on October 2012 national park attendance numbers), $76 million in lost visitor spending per day and $450,000 in lost revenue each day.

WASHINGTON — As the 10th day of the government shutdown looms, more than 7 million Americans have been kept out of national parks and $750 million in visitor spending has been lost, with huge repercussions for the economies of gateway communities and entire states that depend on national park tourism, according to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR).

CNPSR-gathered figures show that the shutdown is resulting in:

  • 715,000 visitors lost daily (based on October 2012 national park attendance numbers).
  • $76 million in lost visitor spending per day.
  • $450,000 in lost revenue each day that would go directly to the National Park Service ($300,000 in entrance fees and $150,000 in other in-park expenditures, such as campground fees, boat rentals, etc.)

CNPSR Chair Maureen Finnerty, former superintendent of Everglades and Olympic National Parks, said, “These figures are mind boggling and they only begin to capture the full economic shock of locking up the crown jewels of America –our national parks. Towns, cities, and even whole states that depend on park tourism are feeling an increasingly strong pinch. And if Congress continues to hold our national parks hostage, these communities will soon be reeling from what is in many cases the main driver of their economies.”

“The only thing that would be crazier than shutting down America’s national parks would be for Congress to allow wide open access to the parks without NPS’s dedicated and hardworking employees in place to protect the sites,” he added. “By essentially enabling looting, poaching, and vandalism, Congress would be taking what is already a dark episode in the history of our national parks and making it worse, including the theft or destruction of national treasures of incalculable value.””

The following is CNPSR-gathered data for the lost visitors, visitor spending, and jobs at risk for 12 leading national parks across the United States:

  • Acadia National Park (Maine) – 68,493 lost visitors in first 10 days, $5,263,013 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 3331 total jobs at stake, including 3147 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Badlands National Park (South Dakota) – 26,767 lost visitors in first 10 days, $656,986 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 475 total jobs at stake, including 375 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Boston National Historic Park (Massachusetts) – 54,794 lost visitors in first 10 days, $2,032,876 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1019 total jobs at stake, including 904 non-NPS jobs.
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio) – 68,219 lost visitors in first 10 days, $1,545,205 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 819 total jobs at stake, including 599 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Everglades National Park (Florida) – 25,083 lost visitors in first 10 days, $3,857,534 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 2364 total jobs at stake, including 1951 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania) – 27,397 lost visitors in first 10 days, $1,796,712 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1141 total jobs at stake, including 1051 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Glacier National Park (Montana) – 60,273 lost visitors in first 10 days, $3,076,712 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1994 total jobs at stake, including 1632 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona) – 120,000 lost visitors in first 10 days, $11,750,684 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 6825 total jobs at stake, including 6167 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee) – 257,534 lost visitors in first 10 days, $23,123,287 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 11,766 total jobs at stake, including 11,367 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Olympic National Park (Washington) – 77,808 lost visitors in first 10 days, $2,912,328 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 1673 total jobs at stake, including 1395 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) – 80,821 lost visitors in first 10 days, $4,821,917 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 3033 total jobs at stake, including 2641 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho) – 98,630 lost visitors in first 10 days, $9,452,054 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 5572 total jobs at stake, including 4481 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Yosemite National Park (California) – 106,849 lost visitors in first 10 days, $10,021,917 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 5607 total jobs at stake, including 4602 local/non-NPS jobs.
  • Zion National Park (Utah) – 72,876 lost visitors in first 10 days, $3,495,890 lost visitor dollars in first 10 days, and 2401 total jobs at stake, including 2136 local/non-NPS jobs.

A note on data: Visitation, economic impacts, and job numbers for the 12 parks are drawn from Headwaters Economics, “Land and Communities, National Parks Service Units, Economic Impacts of Visitation and Expenditures” at http://headwaterseconomics.org/apps-public/nps/impacts/. Topline numbers for NPS daily visitation provided by Coalition of National Park Service Retirees using National Park Service data.

SOURCE: Coalition of National Park Service Retirees

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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 and can be reached at greg@rvdailyreport.com.

One comment

  1. The problem is the immaturity of the White House resident. He is having a temper tantrum and refusing to be the mediator he is supposed to be. How’s that hope and change working for ya?

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