Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national park units, including the Blue Ridge Parkway.
All visitor centers, historic sites, park hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, picnic areas and restrooms – except for the main motor road, a thru way – are closed. These park facilities will remain closed until the government reopens.
Park visitors in all overnight campgrounds and lodges have until 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, to make travel arrangements and leave the park. In addition, all park programs and special events have been canceled.
The Blue Ridge Parkway hosts approximately 70,000 visitors on average each day in October; nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System. NPS stands to lose about $450,000 per day, nationwide, due to the shutdown.
Revenue comes from fees collected at entry stations and for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping. Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown.
Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, 195 NPS employees are on furlough because of the shutdown and approximately 200 concessions employees are similarly affected. Just 43 NPS employees remain on duty, providing law enforcement, security and emergency services.
The NPS website also will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million unique visitors each year.
For updates on the shutdown, please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.doi.gov/shutdown” \t “_blank” www.doi.gov/shutdown.