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States that paid to reopen their parks significantly helped their local communities, but it’s a cost that will be borne by the people who weren’t so hard-headed (hello! Congressional Republicans and Sen. Ted Cruz) to be completely to blame.
The Obama administration says the government shutdown last fall resulted in nearly 8 million fewer visitors to national parks, costing the parks and surrounding communities an estimated $414 million in lost visitor spending.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the shutdown was a striking reminder that national parks are a powerful economic engine for local economies across the country.
The report released Monday said five states, including California and Arizona, lost more than $20 million during the 16-day shutdown.
Six states received permission to reopen national parks within their borders using state money. The report said those states generated nearly $10 in visitor spending for every dollar spent. Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota and Tennessee all reopened parks.
A bill is pending in Congress to reimburse those states.
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