In just two years, the National Park Service will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and it turns out there are some very practical reasons to keep the parks system going, Casey N. Cep writes at the Pacific Standard. Besides their beauty and their role in preserving threatened environments, the parks bring in ten dollars to the local economy for every dollar of funding.
During the government shutdown, Cep points out, the National Parks Servie shuttered the parks, leading to huge economic losses. The National Parks Service:
Overall, the16-day shutdown resulted in 7.88 million fewer national park visitors in October 2013 compared to a three-year average (October 2010-12), and an estimated loss of $414 million in visitor spending in gateway and local communities across the country
It wasn't just economics that caused an outcry when the parks shut down. The designation of parks as nonessential rankled nature-lovers across the nation. The White House has made some efforts to improve the situation, by bumping the Department of the Interior's budget up and including, the Washington Post reports, "$40 million for staff and park operation" in advance of the system's 100-year anniversary in 2016. The budget's far from final, but there's some hope that the NPS will be able to celebrate its anniversary in style.