Every year, national parks across the U.S. boost the economy and attract millions of visitors from near and far, many with plans in place months in advance.
Sometimes it's a bucket list trip, a road trip tradition or a life milestone, or just a visit to experience the beauty of nature.
But the fragile environments preserved and protected by the National Park Service are now in jeopardy of closing, at least temporarily. A potential government shutdown could shutter 425 parks in the U.S., ranging from national monuments to seashores to redwood forests.
The National Parks Conservation Association found that surrounding communities could lose an estimated $70 million in revenue every day national parks are closed in October.
Government contract jobs would come to a screeching halt and roughly 20,000 park employees across the country could be impacted.
"If this looks like past shutdowns, that around 85% of those unfortunately won't be able to report to work," said John Garder, the senior budget director of the National Parks Conservation Association. "They would be worrying about when their next paycheck would be."
As visitor numbers grow over the years, staff and funding for parks has eroded.
A current spending bill proposal by the House Appropriations Committee aims to cut $433 million from the National Park Service — a move some call reckless.
Meanwhile, Arizona and Utah announced they will provide state resources and funding to keep their iconic parks open in the event of a shutdown.
And on Friday Colorado announced a plan to keep its four national parks open, directing its state natural resources department and parks and wildlife department to work up a plan for the governor's review.
The plan would help preserve the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue the parks bring in every year from visitors.
"Colorado’s beautiful national parks belong to the American people and help support our local communities and economy," Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement. "The closure of the national parks and other federal lands would hurt state and local economies, small businesses, and park employees."
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