WASHINGTON — The National Park Service says it is taking the extraordinary step of dipping into entrance fees to pay for staffing at its highly visited parks in the wake of the partial government shutdown.
Parks have been relying on outside help for security and upkeep.
“We are taking this extraordinary step to ensure that parks are protected and that visitors can continue to access parks with limited basic services,” Smith said.
Democrats Want Parks Fully Opened
Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana warned Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Saturday of “significant risk to property and public health” without funding. Three Utah Republican congressmen also asked Bernhardt to restart regular operations.
Parks supporters called the administration’s move misguided.
“Instead of working to reopen the federal government, the administration is robbing money collected from entrance fees to operate our national parks during this shutdown,” said Theresa Pierno, president and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association. “For those parks that don’t collect fees, they will now be in the position of competing for the same inadequate pot of money to protect their resources and visitors. Draining accounts dry is not the answer.”