How the Government Shutdown Affects the National Parks


A sign informs tourists that Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska is closed.

Josephine Sasse, Photo Editor

The Government shutdown has had a resulting effect on our national parks. They have had to either stay open without some amenities or close all together. The decision to close national parks has brought up some controversy concerning safety, state spending, and decisions made by past presidents.


The decision to stay open has varied greatly from state to state. The states that have chosen to stay open are the ones with popular tourists locations. For example, New York is spending 65,000 dollars per day to keep the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island open. Puerto Rico has also agreed to spend 80,000 dollars for two weeks of services at San Juan National Historic Site. Arizona has decided to pay for custodials, like bathroom cleaning and snow removal at the Grand Canyon. Their campground is also open but there is no check in/out process or reservations. California’s Redwood Grove is closed due to human feces and urine found in the park. Lastly, Utah is keeping the visitor center at the arches and Bryce Canyon Zion National Park open.   


Other states have decided to keep their parks open without services like bathrooms or safety. For example, Mount Rainier National Park is open but people will visit at their own risk because they do not have park rangers working. Also, California’s Yosemite National Park is open but trash collecting has stopped and the visitors center, park bathrooms, and two campgrounds are closed.


Since the beginning of the government shut down three people have died in the National Parks. A 14 year old girl died on Christmas Eve in Glen Canyon National Park in Arizona after she fell from the Horseshoe Bend overlook. On Christmas Day, a man died from slipping down a granite hill, landing in a river, and injuring his head in Yosemite Park. Lastly a tree fell on a woman and her son due to high winds. The woman was killed and her son broke his leg.


When interviewed the majority of students believed the parks should’ve been closed during the government shut down because it is a great safety risk. Sophomore Kaleigh Trischman explained that, “It is a horrible idea to keep the parks open because the National Parks are world wonders which are rock formations which can be very dangerous unattended.”


On the other hand some people believe the importance of tourism and allowing people to visit the parks outweighs the dangers. Noelle Bohraus, OHS sophomore, states that, “The parks should stay open because people travel very far to visit the beauty of America and enjoy nature.”     


Some National Parks staying open during the government shutdown has brought up some issues concerning safety and state spending.    


Picture Citation: National Park Shut down. National Parks Conservation Association,