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As the U.S. government shutdown heads into a second week today, America’s “best idea” is closed to tourists. To be more precise, America’s national parks are a lousy idea for visitors right now.
As Ken Burn’s landmark 2009 TV documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea outlines, the national parks are “an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.”
For now, that everyone is shut out of the 401 national park units across the country because they have no government funding for the employees who run them and keep them open. With it, America has become the laughing stock of the world, with immediate harm to the travel and tourism industry, and the local, national, and international tourists unable to visit these parks and national monuments.
We’ve collected a gallery of photos of the shutdown, above.