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Government Shutdown Cost These 10 National Parks Millions

James Dinan
Published: March 7, 2014

10: Salem Maritime National Historic Site

10: Salem Maritime National Historic Site

The Salem Maritime National Historic Site in Salem, Mass. lost an estimated $8 million in revenue, according to the NPS. (Wikimedia Commons)

  • 10: Salem Maritime National Historic Site
  • 9: Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  • 8: Shenandoah National Park
  • 7: Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • 6: Rocky Mountain National Park
  • 5: Grand Teton National Park
  • 4: Yellowstone National Park
  • 3: Acadia National Park
  • 2: Grand Canyon National Park
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It was a common sight during last year’s 16-day federal government shutdown: entrances to America’s national parks, monuments and museums blocked off to visitors. Who can forget this picture of a child in a monkey costume unable to enter Washington’s National Zoo?

But those closures took a monetary toll, too. According to a new National Park Service report, it took just 16 days for America's national parks and surrounding communities to rack up millions of dollars in lost revenue.

In total, America’s national parks and surrounding communities lost an estimated $414 million in tourist spending during October’s shutdown. The substantial losses stem from the major drop-off in visitation during the closures. National park visitation in October fell by nearly 8 million people compared to the same period in 2012.

(MORE: 10 Things You Didn't Know About National Parks)

Five states saw national park visitor spending fall by at least $20 million in October. California alone saw park visitor revenue plummet by more than $30 million.

Many national parks and monuments saw losses, but the park that took the biggest hit was Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the Tennessee/North Carolina border, which lost more than $25 million in tourist revenue last October.

Six parks suffered losses greater than $10 million, from Grand Canyon National Park ($17 million) in the West to Acadia National Park ($16.2 million) in the East.

(MORE: National Parks You Never Knew Existed)

Surprisingly, the National Park Service says 23 national parks and monuments saw a rise in visitors last October, despite the shutdown. The park service says most of those parks were not completely closed during the shutdown due to having a public road or waterway.

For a look at the 10 parks that lost the most revenue during the shutdown, click through the slideshow above.

MORE: Amazing Nature, Captured

Overall Winner: 'Evening Idyll' (GNPY 2013, Hermann Hirsch, GDT)


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