It’s not yet clear what effect the government shutdown will have on the local economy. It most certainly will affect tourism dollars as Abraham Lincoln National Historic Park was closed last week, along with 400 other National Parks across the country.
When Congress didn’t pass a spending bill by midnight Sept. 30, any government functions considered “nonessential” were shut down.
Twenty-one of the Park’s employees were furloughed, according to Superintendent Bill Justice. Three concessions employees are similarly affected.
One employee remains on duty, providing security and emergency services.
All visitor facilities including Birthplace Visitor Center and Memorial Building, the Boyhood Home Unit, known as Knob Creek, park picnic areas and trails are closed. The park will remain closed until the government reopens.
Tuesday morning, Park employees put up barricades and a sign about the Park’s closure. A couple from England, planning to tour the birthplace, was one of the first to be turned away.
The Park hosts 250 visitors on average each day in October.
Nationwide the NPS stands to lose about $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 $6 million a year in the communities around Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.
The National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown.
All park programs and special events have been canceled, including interpretive programs and park education programs. The shutdown will not affect the Lincoln Days festival in downtown Hodgenville.
For updates on the shutdown, visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.