The Cuyahoga Valley National Park has lost out on $1.5 million in visitor spending because of the federal government shutdown, the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees said Thursday.
Nationwide, more than 7 million Americans have been kept out of national parks and $750 million in spending has been lost, the group said.
“These figures are mind boggling, and they only begin to capture the full economic shock of locking up the crown jewels of America — our national parks,” coalition Chair Maureen Finnerty, former superintendent of the Everglades and Olympic National Parks, said in a news release.
“Towns, cities and even whole states that depend on park tourism are feeling an increasingly strong pinch.”
The group noted that 715,000 people visit national parks each day, spending an estimated $76 million.
The National Park Service also is losing $450,000 in revenue each day through entry fees and other visitor costs, such as campground rentals, the group said.
The coalition, made up of more than 900 park retirees, estimated that the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which spans Summit and Cuyahoga counties, has lost out on 68,219 visitors.
All National Park Service employees at the park have been furloughed, except for law enforcement rangers, dispatchers and three staffers. All park visitor centers and restrooms are closed. Nearly all scheduled park programs have been canceled.
All shelter reservations have been canceled, and all parking lots and areas with gates are closed and locked.
The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also is shut down.
Surrounding businesses have reported a drop in visitors.
“It’s quiet around here. Very quiet. Eerily quiet,” Diane Seskes, president of the Peninsula Area Chamber of Commerce, told the Beacon Journal last week. “It’s very weird.”