The Federal Government partial shutdown is now going into day 17.
One of the areas impacted are our National Parks across the country.
Andrew Braun is finishing his Master’s degree in Genealogy at Louisiana State University in Lafayette, LA and he’s seen his fair share of national parks across the country, having visited more than 100 of them.
He shares, “It’s a hobby for me. I am actually a national parks traveler. This is park number 105 for me. I’m on my way back to Louisiana and I’m planning to hit three more national parks.”
National Parks are still open to visitors and have been unsupervised and staff are no longer there to help visitors. Locally, one of the areas impacted by the continuing government shutdown is Congaree National Park, since the shutdown.
John Kupfer is a professor of Geography at USC and says, “It’s affecting people on so many different levels. I’ve got friends who work here at the park who are out of work. There’s the potential to affect all of the parks resources. not only here at Congaree but at parks nation wide.”
At Congaree, staff are no longer working to clean restrooms, clean up and empty trash nor help visitors get the most out of their visit to the park.
Kupfer continues to share, “I think folks need to remember the national parks are neither democratic or republican. They’re American. and these represent the best of our heritage, whether that’s our environment, our history or culture. and the longer this goes on the greater the impact to the people who would other wise visit the parks.”
Andrew Braun also has some advice for political leaders.
"Get it together, please open our parks. It’s really impacting a lot of people such as myself but you guys are better than this. put aside your bickering. put aside your partisan politics, just come to an agreement open our parks.”
The National Park Conservation Association says national parks have lost an estimated $5 million dollars in fee revenue since the government shutdown started.