Shutdown 2013: Study Says Parks Have Lost $750 Million in Visitor Spending
A sign on Rt. 41 in Oakhurst, Calif., notifies travelers that Yosemite Park is closed Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Patrick Tehan / Bay Area News Group
News came late on Thursday night that the U.S. government will consider states’ proposals to fund state openings. However, parks will not be able to recoup losses and many will still be unable to open.
A report released Thursday by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees estimates that $750 million in park visitor spending has been lost during the first 10 days of the government shutdown. That includes $5.2 million in losses from potential visitors to Acadia National Park in Maine.
Using 2012 visitor statistics as a guide, the report estimates that the 59 national parks collectively have lost an average of 715,000 visitors each day since Oct. 1, including 68,493 to Acadia.
The report further projects that $76 million is lost each day in visitor spending, including $450,000 each day that would go directly to the National Park Service through visitors’ fees and other in-park expenses.
“These figures are mind-boggling and they only begin to capture the full economic shock of the locking up the crown jewels of America — our national parks,” Maureen Finnerty, former superintendent of both Everglades and Olympic National Park, said in a statement. “Towns, cities and even whole states that depend on park tourism are feeling an increasingly strong pinch.
Acadia National Park, located on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County, is the only national park east of Virginia. An estimated 2 million people visit every year with most coming during the summer and fall months. The entire island, especially the community of Bar Harbor, relies heavily on visitors who spend money during their stays — at restaurants, hotels and retail stores.
The report estimates that more than 3,300 jobs are at risk because of Acadia’s shutdown.
(c)2013 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine). Distributed by MCT Information Services.