The numbers are starting to come in as the National Park Service tries to recover from the recent U.S. government shutdown. USA Today has reported that as much as $76 million a day was lost as a result of 401 sites operated by the National Park Service being closed to the public. This loss is greatly felt by communities where a large part of their revenue depends upon the money spent at these parks, particularly during the month of October when many of the parks experience an increase in visitors.
Yellowstone and Yosemite were just a few of the U.S. National Parks that were closed due to the shutdown. Those who were in the middle of enjoying these beautiful National treasures were given just a few days notice to vacate the premise so that the gates could be closed. Those who had travel plans already booked were forced to cancel them until further notice. Those traveling from far and wide for a once in a lifetime trip to see the Grand Canyon were turned away and left with feelings of frustration and disappointment. This didn’t sit well with Americans or International tourists who came to the country to see these renowned parks.
While many of the parks were barricaded to keep tourists out, this didn’t stop some citizens who were determined to enjoy the parks at their own expense. Some shared photos of themselves jumping the gates at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum through social media. One jogger was fined $100 for ignoring the closed sign and enjoying an autumn run at Valley Forge National Monument. Numerous others have received tickets from rangers for trespassing on the properties of National Parks throughout the country.
Because they were not able to enjoy the natural beauty of the National Parks firsthand, many were forced to cancel their plans and instead experience the parks through a computer monitor or television screen. While the full affects of the US government shutdown on the National Park system are still to be felt, many are relieved that the parks are now open again for business after a long 16-day stint – just in time to see the changing color of the autumn leaves.