Photo: Craig Kohlruss/The Fresno Bee
The Conservation Alliance urges Congress to come together to end the government shutdown, and re-open the crown jewels of America’s recreation lands. Companies that make and sell products for active use in the outdoors suffer when their customers cannot visit our National Parks, National Monuments, Wildlife Refuges, and other federal lands.
Outdoor recreation generates $646 billion in consumer spending each year, and supports 6.1 million jobs. This economic driver relies on our system of public lands.
“Federal lands are the infrastructure for the outdoor industry,” said Executive Director John Sterling. “Closing our parks, monuments, and refuges is like shutting down the mall on Black Friday.”
Since the government shutdown began on October 1, many news reports have focused on the frustration of tourists being barred from visiting federal lands to see the elk rut in Yellowstone, float the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, or hunt on one of dozens of National Wildlife Refuges.
Fortunately, some states have a good collection of state parks that can absorb visitors stymied by federal facilities. Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah reported a record number of cars on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number of visitors on Memorial Day.
“Americans love their protected public lands,” said Sterling. “Once Congress ends this shutdown, it should get to work passing the many stalled bills that would add lands to our National Wilderness Preservation System.”