Government shutdown closes Saguaro National Park - The Explorer: News

Government shutdown closes Saguaro National Park

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Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 4:00 am

Due to the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national parks, including Saguaro National Park. All visitor facilities including the Red Hills Visitor Center and the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center, campsites and roads (except for Picture Rocks Road, Sandario Road, and Kinney Road in the park’s Tucson Mountain District), are closed. The park will remain closed until the government reopens.

Darla Sidles, Park Superintendent, said that all park programs and special events have been canceled, including school environmental education programs and events.

Saguaro National Park hosts approximately 350 visitors on average each day in October; nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System. The park will lose an estimated $1,100 of entrance fees each day of the shutdown. Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown. Visitors spend about $21.9 million a year in the communities around Saguaro National Park.

In Saguaro National Park, 68 employees are on furlough because of the shutdown. Eleven employees remain on duty, providing security 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.  

For updates on the shutdown, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown

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