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Breaking news: “State parks won’t be closed because of the shutdown” (WSJ)

From the WSJ (National Parks Will Close if Government Shuts Down):

National parks will close their gates if lawmakers don’t pass legislation to keep the federal government funded by the end of this week.

The Biden administration announced Friday morning that sites run by the National Park Service will close if government funding lapses on Sunday. The administration will release a full contingency plan later Friday. The closures would roll out over the weekend and into Monday if a shutdown does occur, a senior Interior Department official said.

The closures will affect national parks, including sites like Yosemite and Yellowstone, and other monuments and sites like the National Mall and memorials in Washington, D.C. During the shutdown, thousands of park rangers will be furloughed.

Visitors will still be able to access some parks during the shutdown. While some parks have entry points that can be closed to guests, visitors could go to many other federally run destinations that are easier to access. State parks won’t be closed because of the shutdown.

The nonprofit National Parks Conservation Association, citing government data, projects that the parks could see nearly one million fewer visitors and an economic loss of as much as $70 million for every day that the destinations are closed in October.

Here is one reason to close them down:

During the most recent government shutdown, the Trump administration kept national parks open with lower staffing levels. As travelers continued to visit, trash and toilet facilities overflowed at some locations. Visitors also caused damage to some locations, including Joshua Tree National Park.

The Government Accountability Office rebuked the Trump administration for keeping the parks up and running. In a 2019 legal opinion, the GAO said the administration ran afoul of federal rules that dictate how money can be spent during a lapse in appropriations. The GAO also warned that similar moves in the future would be considered “knowing and willful violations” of the law.

Thanks Kevin!

Oh, and the WSJ felt obliged to add this:

State parks won’t be closed because of the shutdown.

Because … um, they’re state parks?

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