The Norman Transcript

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October 3, 2013

Chickasaw National Recreation Area included in shutdown

SULPHUR — Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service has closed all 401 national parks, including Chickasaw National Recreation Area.  

All visitor facilities including Travertine Nature Center, park concessions, trails, recreational use of the lakes and streams, campgrounds and roads are closed — with the exception of Highway 177, Goddard Youth Camp Road and that portion of Chickasaw Trail that passes through the park. The park will remain closed until the government reopens.

Park Superintendent Bruce Noble said park visitors in all overnight campgrounds and lodges will be given until 5 p.m. today to make travel arrangements and leave the park. In addition, all park programs and special events have been canceled.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area hosts an average of 3,500 visitors per day in October. The park will lose an estimated $2,000 in camping fees each day of the shutdown. Nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System.

Nationwide, the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping.

Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown. Visitors spend about $17,157,000 a year in the communities around Chickasaw National Recreation Area.

In Chickasaw National Recreation Area, more than 30 employees are on furlough because of the shutdown and another four concessions employees are similarly affected. Law Enforcement Rangers remain on duty to provide emergency services and to maintain the security of government property.

Nationwide the shutdown also has furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees; approximately 3,000 employees remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees also are affected.

Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million visitors each year.

For updates on the shutdown, visit doi.gov/shutdown.

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