During the Government shutdown of 2013, the National Park Services was forced to close most of its parks and monuments. Operations were limited with most of the 20,000 employees furloughed, and practical steps were taken where security of national icons were lacking. During the shutdown, several Republicans claimed the Obama administration had unnecessarily closed parks and barricaded monuments to make the shutdown as painful and visible as possible, which the administration and Democrats responded to accordingly: “Our National Park System is surprisingly part of our government, which you shut down.”
Following the end of the shutdown, the National Parks and monuments reopened, and the twitter and instagram feeds were refreshed. Legislation has been proposed that would keep the National Parks open in the case of future shutdowns. The “Provide Access and Retain Continuity Act” would ensure that an agreement is in place to allow states to continue funding and operating federal facilities and programs vital to their economies, such as in states with numerous natural attractions like Utah and Wyoming where tourism is a large, if not the largest, draw of revenue for those states.
Republicans want to blame the National Park Service for closing when the majority of its employees were furloughed, claiming publicity stunts and appalling behavior on the part of Park Rangers. Yes, the parks closed and people had to leave, and that hurt the economy surrounding those parks and affected the citizens who wanted to visit those parks. Shockingly enough, when the government has a temper tantrum and closes its doors, good, ordinary people suffer the consequences.
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