The nation’s national parks and other government-run tourism destinations face closure on Saturday if the federal government shuts down tonight.
The national park system alone stand to lose around $32 million a day in revenue if a shutdown happens, shuttering not only National Parks but also National Seashores as well as numerous historic sites.
The National Park Service estimates that about 800,000 visitors a day will be turned away if the parks are closed.
International tourist hubs such as the Smithsonian National Museums in Washington, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, and Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona would be among the locations affected.
Also, affected would be numerous tourist-drawing events like the National Cherry Blossom Festival. in Washington, D.C. The festival, which draws around 1 million people a year, could be called off completely.
In Charleston, South Carolina, Civil War re-enactors descending upon Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor might find themselves locked out of the battle.
Learn more about America the beautiful in our National Parks Travel section
This year, re-enactors were planning to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War on Tuesday. If the shutdown goes forward, the event’s 1,000 Civil War re-enactors will have to take the battle elsewhere, outside federal lands.
And the U.S. Department of State, which was planning on Sunday to process new passport applications on “Passport Day in the USA,” will have to take a rain check.
Meanwhile, nearly 17,000 park service employees will be sent home and another 15,000 private contract workers will find themselves temporarily out of a job.
Among the furloughed, however, will not be zookeepers. According to the National Zoo only 30 percent of zoo staff will go home, but keepers, curators, vets, nutritionists would keep working.
Democrats and Republicans have only a few hours left to agree on budget deal today before a shutdown occurs. Without an agreement the federal government lacks the authority to pay its bills.
By Adriana Padilla for PeterGreenberg.com.
Related Links on PeterGreenberg.com:
- Ask The Locals Travel Guide: Yellowstone National Park
- National Parks Travel section
- Travel Tip: Off-Season Programs In National Parks
- National Park Family Camping Trips
- Travel Tip: Lesser-Known National Parks
- National Park Week: Free Entrance To National Parks