Quantcast

Interior: All national parks will close during shutdown

Published September 27, 2013 11:13 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • America's national parks — including all five in Utah — may soon be shuttered, along with the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall and all Smithsonian museums.

Those are among the plans beginning Tuesday should Congress fail to pass any funding measure to keep the government running. As the House and Senate continue bickering over legislation this weekend, some federal agencies on Friday unveiled details as to how they would operate during a shutdown.

The Interior Department said it would have no choice but to close 368 parks — giving campers and hotel guests 48 hours to vacate — as well as halt any non-emergency use of Bureau of Land Management acres and furlough, initially, 58,541 employees of its nearly 73,000-strong workforce.

Essential services, such as law enforcement, would continue, Interior said in its contingency plan.

Should Congress continue its impasse, communities surrounding Utah's national parks could be impacted from a drop in tourism.

"If the government shutdown comes to pass, it will be a challenge to the economy during the time it is closed," said Jay Kinghorn, spokesman for the Utah Office of Tourism.

Interior said the Central Utah Project will not be affected by a shutdown.

Thomas Burr