Though some national parks are re-opening thanks to state funding, Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park remains closed. So, although you can’t take a cruise on Skyline Drive in real life (at the moment), enjoy this shot of how the road presumably looks right now.
There’s finally a bit of good news for travelers impacted by the Federal Government shutdown with the announcement that Utah will reopen five of its national parks despite the ongoing closures around the country.
Utah made a deal with the government to pay to keep its parks open. The state will cough up more than $166,000 a day for up to 10 days for the privilege, with the money going to the National Park Service.
In total, eight Utah attractions will reopen to visitors. This includes five national parks, namely Bryce Canyon, Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands National Park. In addition, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, as well as the Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridges national monuments will once again welcome tourists.As we’ve mentioned before, the shutdown hasn’t stopped some visitors from sneaking into the parks, with a number of tourists caught jumping the fences as Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks. The reopening of the parks will ensure that visitors are able to get inside and that they pay to do so – a key factor behind the state’s decision to go against the shutdown.
Utah’s Governor says the state’s national parks are fundamental to the local economy and the closures had come at a particularly bad time. Good weather tends to draw large crowds in October, meaning the parks usually earn about $100 million during this month alone.
Utah’s national parks will reopen by Saturday.
If you’ve kept abreast of the news this week, you’ll know it’s been full of twists and turns. We leave you with this photo of the top of Lombard Street in San Francisco, California, in the hopes that things can straighten out a bit sometime soon.
Today’s government shutdown will affect many groups of people, travel-related and otherwise. But one group chose not to be affected today. A group of World War II veterans, led by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, simply knocked down the barriers at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., so they could get inside.
With the House Republicans and virtually everyone else in government refusing to play nice, it appears the U.S. might be headed toward another costly shutdown. How might this affect the travel industry?
First, if you’re planning to visit Yosemite or any other national park, start making other vacation plans. A government shutdown means all national parks, government-owned museums like the Smithsonian and other attractions will be closed. All employees considered non-essential –- which, if you’ve ever spent any time with a Park Ranger, you know that’s a complete lie -– will be furloughed and not paid during any shutdown.
This is a massive blow to not only travelers, but the folks whose livelihoods depend on those travelers, like the diner waitresses near the National Zoo or the hotel owners throughout Acadia National Park. According to the Christian Science Monitor, during the 26-day government shutdown in 1995 and 1996, the closure of those sites meant a net loss of 9 million visitors and untold millions in lost revenue to the surrounding communities.
While passport workers will likely remain on duty, expect rampant delays. During the last shutdown, more than 200,000 passport applications went unprocessed. Tens of thousands of entry visas for foreign travel also went unprocessed each day.
Air-traffic controllers and Homeland Security personnel should remain on the job, but it’s not known if a potential shutdown will affect their jobs in other ways.