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Potential government shutdown could lead to the National Park Service closing

Yellowstone National Park sign.

The federal government faces a likely shutdown this weekend, with lawmakers unable to agree on a new budget in time to meet the Oct. 1 deadline. Without operating budgets, many federal agencies will have to close their doors, including the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Park Service. In an announcement earlier this week, the DOI stated that under a shutdown, all national parks will close and visitor services will be unavailable starting Monday, Oct. 2.

In Utah and Arizona, where local economies are reliant upon revenue from tourism dollars, state officials have said they will fund operations for parks with state dollars. This has been done in previous shutdowns to keep parks open, but in Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte has no plans to use state resources to keep Glacier or Yellowstone National Parks open. Gianforte has said the parks are the federal government’s responsibility.

Data from the National Parks Service released earlier this year found visitor spending in communities bordering Yellowstone had a cumulative benefit of over 600 million dollars to the local economy, and Glacier National Park brought close to 550 million.

Should the shutdown occur, parks will remain closed until Congress can agree on a federal spending bill. The National Parks Service is asking the public to refrain from visiting closed parks for their own safety and to preserve natural and cultural resources.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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