Even though Montana is home to the two greatest National Parks that grace the earth (my commentary), Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) ruled out any option to open the parks during the government shutdown last Fall. Heck, he even ruled out simply discussing the idea.
Now, we all know that the parks should have never shut down in the first place. The president refused to negotiate with Republicans and was happy to shutdown the government and then reap the political rewards.
But why, in the middle of it all, wouldn’t Montana’s Governor work to open the parks?
The question is even more prudent given a new report from the National Park Service.
Paul Bedard has this for The Washington Examiner- Shutdown bonanza: States reaped $10 for every $1 spent to keep parks open
Six states that paid Uncle Sam $2 million to keep 14 popular national parks open during the federal shutdown last year bagged $20 million in visitor spending they would have lost, a colossal investment success, according to the National Park Service.
When the shutdown hit, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota and Tennessee paid to keep their big parks open for some of the 16 days. Utah was most aggressive, spending $999,432 to keep nine parks, including Bryce Canyon and Zion, open for six days. NPS estimated that visitors spent $9.9 million inside the park and surrounding areas.
…the report also suggests that park visitors might not have cancelled trips and instead travelled to areas near closed parks — and spent freely. “It is possible that part of the decline in October 2013 visitor spending was not ‘lost’ to gateway communities, but was simply shifted in time or to substitute, non-NPS sites,” said the report titled, “Effects of the October 2013 Government Shutdown on National Park Service Visitor Spending in Gateway Communities.”
Some folks may decide to start calling him- “Shutdown Steve Bullock”…