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Shutdown Cost The National Park Service Millions, Shows Internal Email

Entrance to Grand Tetons National Park
National Park Service
Entrance to Grand Tetons National Park

The National Park Service may have lost millions of dollars in revenue during the recent government shutdown, and recovering from this setback may take a while.

According to the U.S. political website The Hill, an internal email revealed a loss of $10-11 million in revenue during the partial shutdown.

Some parks were also ordered to siphon recreation fee funds to pay for daily maintenance and operations during the shutdown, said John Garder with the nonprofit advocacy group, National Parks Conservation Association. “It was a bit of a double whammy,” he said.

Garder said physical damage to the parks caused another financial blow to the agency, which is on top of the Park Service’s pre-existing backlog of $11.6 billion in deferred maintenance for things like roads, buildings, and campgrounds.

To make matters worse, said Garder, “This is the season during which they would be hiring seasonal staff. So the fact that for 35 days they couldn’t hire means this is going to really challenge them for getting ready for the busy season.”

The National Park Service did not respond to requests for comment.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2021 KRCC. To see more, visit KRCC.

Ali Budner is KRCC's reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, a journalism collaborative that unites six stations across the Mountain West, including stations in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana to better serve the people of the region. The project focuses its reporting on topic areas including issues of land and water, growth, politics, and Western culture and heritage.
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