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Date: 9/29/23

The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks Condemns Looming Government Shutdown

 Mike Murray, Chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, issued this statement on the anticipated federal government shutdown:

“The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks strongly condemns this looming government shutdown. Congress is responsible for developing and approving a federal budget for all government agencies and programs, including the National Park Service. So far, they have failed to do their job and they have failed the American people.

We support the Administration’s decision to prioritize conservation and visitor safety by closing our national parks in the event of a shutdown and until an agreement can be reached to fund the federal government, including the National Park Service. With only a small number of NPS staff working during a shutdown, it is simply impossible to ensure the protection of park resources and the safety of visitors.

We do have concerns about some of the guidance that leaves areas of national parks accessible to the public, with only minimal NPS staff at work. As we saw during the 2018-2019 shutdown during the previous administration, the decision to keep parks open without adequate staff caused destructive acts, habitat degradation, and numerous other negative impacts.

We sympathize with visitors who will be unable to access their national parks, as well as gateway communities, concessionaries, and contractors who are sure to feel the economic impacts of this shutdown. However, we encourage the public to help protect our parks by rescheduling their trips so we can avoid placing additional stress on our parks and NPS employees at this time.

Our national parks are already underfunded and understaffed. NPS employee morale is already low. This shutdown would make a difficult situation worse.”