Big Bend Conservancy
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Big Bend National Park - Federal lawmakers are working right now to finalize the 2011 budget, but with a short timeline and billions at stake there is a risk of that not happening in time, which would cause a government shutdown.U.S. Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX-11) said today they will likely be able to extend their timeline by two weeks, but there is a serious threat the House and Senate will not come to an agreement about the budget in time.In which case he said non-essential services would be shutdown first, including all national parks."This is what happens when the government is too big and has to start cutting spending. You've got folks whose lives get disrupted," Congressman Conaway said.Like the employees who rely on business brought in by Big Bend National Park."I'm concerned for our businesses and the people whose livelihood depends on tourism," said Brewster County Director of Tourism, Mike Davidson.Tour guides, cooks, waiters and lodging employees all would be without jobs if the Park were forced to close because the government shuts down."I mean if we shut down we've got no money coming in," said Danny Ferguson, General Manager at Chisos Mountain Lodge in Big Bend.The lodge would be forced to close if the park closes."They'll close the gates and not let anyone in until funding is restored to pay the folks who are put there to protect the national parks from vandalism and also protect the people who are camping there."And the timing couldn't be worse; March alone makes up for almost 60% of Brewster County’s tourism business."This is our busy time March, April, May, so it would definitely be a hurt to our business," Ferguson said.For anyone making spring break plans in Big Bend right now the community is preparing for spring break as usual.Brewster County Tourism Director Mike Davidson does remind everyone the Big Bend State Park will remain open in March regardless.
Enough doom and gloom, folks.....1) I'd REALLY HATE to see this thread turn into a political flame2) If it happens, it happens. Yes, it would suck, but all of the best hikers have a plan B & C anyway.... 3) Nothing is for sure yet. Save the speculation and worry for somebody's overprotective grandma!
There is chatter about this possible shut down on the Yahoo Grand Canyon Hikers site. Imagine shutting down the big parks like Grand Canyon? Back in '95 they did that, and literally closed the gates to the park. Some rangers were left on staff to patrol the trails to make sure noone was still down in the canyon.Darin
If you remember the last two closures of national park units in the 1990's, it was devastating to communities that count on those tourism dollars. Grand Canyon was shut for 21 days. At one point the Arizona governor sponsored opening it because the closure ruined the local economies. Of course the park rangers loved it because they got paid vacations out of it but the locals were hurt badly.
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