Utah’s National Park Losses Mitigated By Shutdown Funding

Mar 3, 2014

A new report released Monday shows Utah’s decision to fund the opening of the state’s national parks during the October government shutdown was worth the initial costs.

Arches National Park
Arches National Park
Credit speclab.cr.usgs.gov

The report, released by the National Park Service and the Department of the Interior highlights the national impact of the government shutdown on communities surrounding national parks.

According to the report, visits to national parks across the nation dropped by more than 7.8 million visitors, that’s compared to an average of 23 million visits during October in years past. The drop led to a total loss of $414 million in the communities that depend on national park tourism.

Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park along with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area all saw losses in visitor spending during the 16 day shutdown, though the decision to re-open the parks on the state’s dime appears to have been worth the initial $1 million investment.

The report estimates there were more than 150,000 park visits in the state during the shutdown, with nearly $10 million gained from visitor spending during the period.

Each of Utah’s parks saw a loss near $3 million compared to years past; though the greatest loss was seen in the communities surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tenn. and N.C., which totaled over $25 million in lost revenue.