Put more concretely, every day that America’s national parks remain shut down, $76 million is lost at the “Barrycades.”
Last year, the country’s 410 parks and monuments hosted 715,000 visitors a day. Turned away by padlocked gates and officious orange cones, the flow of tourists has dwindled to a trickle – and so has the revenue.
In addition to the $76 million in lost daily visitor spending, $450,000 in daily campground fees and boat rentals has also dried up, according to data compiled by a Park Service organization. Maureen Finnerty, president of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, laments, “These figures are mind-boggling and only begin to capture the full economic shock of locking up the crown jewels of America.”
But not to worry. The Statue of Liberty, one of the NPS’s top money makers, re-opened over the weekend — but only after New York state taxpayers’ ponied up the money. Magnanimously, the NPS said barricades will come down at other national sites, too — if states cough up enough money.
So where’s the savings in this shutdown? Certainly not at the national parks.
And, really, nowhere else, since furloughed federal employees, including park rangers, are due to receive full back pay when they finally return to duty.
Cross-posted at Watchdog.org.