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HomeLatest NewsShutdown Forces Closure of Most National Parks in 13 or Less Words

Shutdown Forces Closure of Most National Parks in 13 or Less Words

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The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced that the majority of the country’s national parks will be closed and off-limits to the public if the federal government shuts down. This decision is likely to disrupt the travel plans of millions of visitors to popular attractions like Yosemite. The closure means that gates will be locked, visitor centers will be closed, and park rangers will be furloughed. While some states and local governments have the option to keep specific parks open by paying the federal government, not all parks will have this opportunity.

The closure of national parks due to a potential government shutdown has been anticipated by parks, as well as the towns and businesses that depend on them for income. The ongoing resistance from at least 10 hard-right Republicans to a temporary measure that would allow the government to continue functioning has brought Congress closer to a September 30 deadline. While the Interior Department has stated that states and local governments can choose to keep specific parks operating by paying the federal government, the cost, which is typically tens of thousands of dollars per day, is seen as a good investment considering the economic benefits that national parks bring in.

In previous government shutdowns, some states, including New York, have chosen to pay and reopen major attractions such as Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. However, it remains uncertain whether they will do the same this time. The Biden administration’s decision to close national parks to visitors differs from former President Trump’s approach during the 2018 shutdown, where the parks were kept open but unstaffed. This led to various issues such as poaching, graffiti, and illegal off-roading. The Department of the Interior oversees over 400 national park sites and employs 20,000 workers. While parks like the National Mall and open-air memorials in Washington will remain open during a shutdown, they may be gated off as happened a decade ago.

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