How the Government Shutdown Affects National Parks and Nature at Large

While SunnyScope is in no way a political blog, the recent shutdown of the US government has compelled us to inform you of what that means for the country’s national parks, which are, rather unfortunately for outdoor lovers, operated by the US government.

nps closedIf you were planning an imminent trip to any one of the 401 National Park Service (NPS) sites, including national parks, monuments, and museums, your plans are as of this moment furloughed, but for how long, no one can say for certain.

During the government shutdown, you will not be allowed to camp or even day hike in any of the country’s national parks; indeed, visitors currently inside national parks have been issued an order to leave immediately, with long-term campers being given 48 hours to vacate the premises.

The shutdown couldn’t be timed worse for California’s Yosemite National Park, who is celebrating their 123rd birthday today.

But wait, that’s not all: you can also rule out visiting any of the nation’s monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial or the Statue of Liberty, and your chance to monitor the activity of the National Zoo’s first baby panda cub via the Panda Cam has been shut down as well. Even an expedition to visit the historic Civil War Battlefield will be stifled due to the government closures that began early this morning.

With a collective average of 715,000 visitors just in October to the 401 sites managed by the NPS, projected losses of tourist dollars are in the millions. But the shutdown affects more than revenue when it comes to nature and conservation; any studies or projects that are being conducted with federal funds have now been cancelled or delayed. These projects include rehabilitation work on New York’s Ellis Island from Hurricane Sandy to fire-prevention projects in Shenandoah National Park — areas that require vigilant study and work to ensure a healthy future for the environment and the communities it supports.


Original image via emilydickinsonridesabmx


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