As you’ve likely noticed by now the Federal Government was shut down over night due to a lack of funds. This means that Social Security checks won’t go out soon, that federal funds to pave roads in rural areas or interstate highways will shut down soon, and so on. It also means that National Park Service sites, National Forests, and other Federal lands are shuttered.
Think of your last trip to a National Park. What surrounded the park? Were there restaurants near by? Motels? Campgrounds? Is there a store there that wouldn’t be there if there weren’t tens of thousands of visitors passing by needing bread or burgers or beer? These are businesses. They employ people. They help people feed their children by giving them jobs. They add to the local and regional economy. I could tell you just how much the average visitor adds to the local economy, but the statistics are on a federal website that’s shut down.
That being said, plenty of people are still visiting some parks. I did myself this morning, in order to express my disgust at the current situation. When I got to the gate at Stones River National Battlefield just outside Nashville TN. There were two cars parked there, and there were others jogging inside the park. I walked in and visited the “Slaughter Pen”, so called by a unit of former meat-packers who had enlisted and seen battle there.
Fight the shutdown. Visit a Park. Bring a garbage bag and pick up trash. Show Congress that America wants its parks open, to be able to appreciate our history and natural beauty, and to keep Congress from intentionally harming small business owners.