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NPCA Starts Campaign to Reopen Park System

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October 2, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Typically, in October, the National Park System has about 750,000 visits per day and visitors spend more than $30 million per day in local economies.

Not this year.

As of Oct. 1, the federal government has shut down indefinitely, a result of the budget impasse in Congress and the inability to come to an agreement on funding for the government at the start of a new fiscal year.

Among the consequences of this shutdown: all 401 national park sites are closed. Park visitor centers, bathrooms, concession stands, and other facilities are closed. Educational programs and special events are expected to be canceled, permits issued for special activities rescinded, hotels and campgrounds emptied, and entrances secured.

As noted in a release by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), not only are family vacations and school field trips being jeopardized, but the economic well-being of the communities and businesses whose livelihoods depend on national parks is being put in limbo.

The government shutdown is not the first debilitating result of disagreements in Washington on the National Park Service; they have been crippled by compounded budget cuts over the last three years, the release stated. According to the NPCA, the budget to operate our national parks, in today's dollars, is already 13% less than it was three years ago, a loss of $315 million; in the busy summer tourist season, national parks operated with approximately 1,900 fewer staff members due to the more than $180 million cut in 2013.

The NPCA is asking that concerned outdoor enthusiasts contact their senators and representative to reopen national parks and fund them adequately. The association offers links on its website to look up your local and national representatives, includes the phone number to the Capitol switchboard and provides a letter that can be personalized and forwarded. For more details, visit www.npca.org.

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