Editor’s Note: The press office of Mount Rainier National Park has sent the Mountain News the follow announcement detailing the closing of the park in response to the shutdown of the federal governmental.
Government Shutdown Forces Closure of Mount Rainier National Park
Ashford, WA – Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national parks, including Mount Rainier National Park. All visitor facilities including the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center, park hotels, and roads – except for State Route 410 and State Route 123, park thru ways – are closed. The park will remain closed until the government reopens.
Park Superintendent Randy King advises that park visitors in all overnight facilities will be given until 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Thursday, October 3 to make travel arrangements and leave the park. In addition, all park programs or special events have been canceled.
Mount Rainier National Park hosts approximately 130,000 visitors on average in October; nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System. The park will lose an estimated $2,000 in entrance fees each day of the shutdown. Nationwide the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping. Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown. In 2011 over one-million visitors to Mount Rainier National Park spent $33M in communities surrounding the park.
In Mount Rainier National Park, 192 government employees are on furlough because of the shutdown. A total of 32 employees remain on duty, providing various services including security, facility protection and emergency services.
Nationwide the shutdown has also furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees; approximately 3,000 employees remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety, and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees are also affected.
Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million unique visitors each year.
For updates on the shutdown, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.
“Mount RainierNational Park employees are public servants who work tirelessly to protect the mountain’s resources and provide memorable experiences for park visitors. We hope to reopen our gates at the earliest possible date,” said Superintendent King.
About the National Park Service. National Park Service employees care for America’s 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.