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Colorado National Parks to Close This Weekend if Federal Government Shuts Down 

Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert (CD-3) is at fault for the consequences of the spending fight in Washington, D.C.

Conservation Colorado has experts across the state who are willing to talk to reporters about what this could mean for Colorado

DENVER — The pending federal government shutdown being debated in Washington, D.C. this week would mean the closure of national parks, national monuments, and public lands across Colorado during the state’s best leaf-peeping season in years.

Colorado national parks, such as Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument, as well as other national monuments and national forests (see the full list here), will be closed to the public if the government shuts down.

Colorado’s national parks generate nearly $1 billion in revenue every year, and Gov. Jared Polis’ administration is working to determine if there are ways to keep national parks open. If Colorado’s parks do remain open, it will not be because of Republicans such as Colorado’s Rep. Lauren Boebert (CD 3), who is at the center of the political fight around shutting the government down.

U.S. President Joe Biden warned earlier this week that “a small group of extreme Republicans” will cause the government shutdown. Boebert is part of that group, along with other hard-right Republicans, who want to see extreme budget cuts from essential programs including those to protect our nation’s environment and people.

“The National Park Service has thousands of employees in Colorado who will be without a paycheck while Rep. Lauren Boebert and Republican party extremists play political games,” said Conservation Colorado Vice President of Programs Jessica Goad. “Coloradans looking to enjoy our beautiful national parks will be met with ‘closed’ signs and turned away from our state’s crown jewels. We deserve better. Conservation Colorado is urging voters in Rep. Boebert’s district to call on her to end her efforts to force a government shutdown, in order to safeguard our environment and re-open Colorado’s spectacular wild lands.”

Previous shutdowns have negatively impacted national parks, nearby gateway towns, and the people who work there:

  • The Congressional Research Service found that the National Park Service furloughed seven out of eight workers during the last three government shutdowns. Nationally, as many as four million workers could lose pay as a result of a shutdown. Essential workers will work without pay while other federal workers will be furloughed.
  • Based on National Park Service data, national parks could see a loss of nearly 1 million visitors and an economic loss to gateway communities of as much as $70 million every day parks are closed in October.

Other impacts of a government shutdown will be stoppage of inspections for clean drinking water and clean air, delayed food safety inspections, and loss of access to food and school benefits for low-income mothers and children.

The length of this shutdown will depend on Republicans like Rep. Boebert who must stop political posturing and start listening to the needs of Coloradans and keep our parks and public lands open. Over the past decade, the U.S. government has shutdown for lengths of three, 16 and 35 days.