Shutdown Shuts Down Parks

Oct 1, 2013

Wild ponies at Assateague Island National Seashore.
Credit JohnRiv via flickr

When the federal government shuts down, it idles thousands of Maryland workers and costs the state economy tens of millions of dollars.

 It also forces national parks to close, turning away thousands of visitors.

Assateague Island National Seashore logs about two million visitors a year. And even though things have slowed down since the busiest days in August, it still sees some 7,000 visitors a day in October.

Rachelle Daigneault, chief of interpretation and education, said it’s a beautiful month to come to the seashore for the beach, birding and to see the wild horses. The park also had about 200 school students scheduled for visits this week. But they’ll have to stay home. In addition, she said, hunting and the “over-sand vehicle zone would be closed.”

“No new camping, of course, would come into the park, but campers who are already here would have about 48 hours to find other accommodations and our visitors’ center would also be closed,” she said.

When the parks re-open depends on Congress.