The 16-day government shutdown last October was a significant economic blow to the Bay Area and communities near other California national parks. A study released Monday by the National Park Service says the shutdown was responsible for a loss of $22.6 million in visitor spending at six of the state's most popular national parks:
- Yosemite National Park: $6.7 million
- Golden Gate National Recreation Area: $6.1 million
- Sequoia National Park: $2.9 million
- Joshua Tree National Park: $2.4 millon
- Point Reyes National Seashore: $2.3 million
- Muir Woods National Monument: $2.2 million
The shutdown forced closure of most facilities in most national parks for 16 days last October. That meant about 260,000 fewer visitors at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area compared to prior Octobers. That was the second highest visitor reduction nationwide after the 330,000 loss at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a popular autumn destination on the North Carolina-Tennessee border.
"We have 17 million visitors a year," said GGNRA spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet. "And to have that long of a period that we were unavailable to visitors, it just was an aberration."
Nationally, there were 7.8 million fewer national park visitors in October 2013 than the average for the previous three Octobers. The report estimates lost visitor spending nationwide at $414 million.
But the shutdown's impact didn't fall equally on all parks.