The National Park Service is losing $450,000 a day in entrance fees and other revenue thanks to the Republican shutdown, but that's just the tip of the iceberg in park-related economic shutdown losses. The communities surrounding national parks will suffer, too, to the tune of
$30 million a day
With vacationers banned from the parks, they won't pass through towns by park entrances. That means business lost for hotels and restaurants, grocery stores, supply stores and more.
"It means jobs and it means less income for working families here in Maine," said Christopher Fogg, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Two million tourists pass through Bar Harbor on their way to Acadia National Park every year. Businesses there have already had a tough 2013, he said, as budget cuts forced Arcadia to close its park loop road to vehicular traffic for a month, from April 15 to May 15. Fogg said that a survey of the chamber's members found that the closure caused them to lose about 30 percent of their expected business for that month.
The prospect of potentially losing October visitors is even more discouraging, he said, as October is one of the most popular months at the park, with 300,000 visitors coming last October for the fall leaves. "This is a great time to be in Bar Harbor," Fogg said. "Everyone should be in the park enjoying the foliage."
It's not just Acadia with its foliage; according to a former superintendent of the Blue Ridge Parkway, "To have it happen in October is like closing a shopping mall at Christmas time."
That Republicans don't care about furloughed park service workers or park revenues is no surprise. Families who vacation at parks rather than on yachts are also not traditionally at the top of the Republican priority list. But we're talking about businesses here! Republicans are supposed to worship them ... except, the businesses that will be hit hardest by $30 million a day in localized losses are mostly going to be small ones, and while a lot of Republican rhetoric focuses on small business, their actual policies are all about the huge corporations. So the fact that they're willing to let these communities and businesses suffer is no huge surprise, if you're paying attention to what they do rather than what they say.
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