government shutdown

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Private businesses chip in to keep Yellowstone open during shutdown

Visitors traverse the snow-covered boardwalk along Excelsior Geyser Crater in Yellowstone National Park. Private businesses have pitched in to keep the park open during the partial government shutdown .

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYO. — Winter visitors to Yellowstone National Park say they are largely unaffected by the partial federal government shutdown, thanks mainly to private concessioners picking up the slack, and federal workers showing up without pay. After 34 days of reduced operations in the country’s national parks, Yellowstone visitors continue to tour the park by snow coach and snowmobile, much as they otherwise would under normal circumstances. “We don’t agree with the shutdown, but it hasn’t really impaired us,” said Don Stewart, who lives in Georgia and has a summer home in Red Lodge, Mont. Don and wife Karen began planning a Yellowstone tour by snow coach in July after their daughter raved about a winter trip. Continue Reading →

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Former Grand Teton superintendent sees need for more civic engagement

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, left, and Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott speak with reporters Wednesday about efforts to complete a deal for the federal government to acquire Wyoming state lands within the park, were the press conference was held. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate)

Mary Gibson Scott retired in November after nearly a decade as the chief administrator for Grand Teton National Park. In a wide-ranging interview last year given shortly after she retired, Scott singled out the chaos brought on by federal budget battles as a major challenge during her tenure, calling federal budget dysfunction an ongoing threat to the health of national parks across the country. Continue Reading →

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Federal budget battles leave lingering scars on parks, gateway towns

The 16-day shutdown of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in October cost an estimated $21.1 million in lost total visitor and recreation spending to the parks and surrounding communities. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate)

In a region hit hard by government spending squabbles that started the tourism season with park budget cuts under Sequestration and ended the season with a 16-day partial government shutdown that closed Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, fears linger that ongoing Congressional dysfunction will again cause chaos for travelers and lost revenue for parks, business owners and workers. Despite recent assurances from Congressional leaders that a shutdown won't happen in January, tourism industry insiders and park managers say the "new normal of governing by crisis" will continue to inflict economic harm on the parks and their gateway communities. Continue Reading →

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Grand Teton closure shut down park revenues along with public access

Grand Teton National Park will close some of its roads to seasonal travel in preparation for winter.

The 16-day closure of Grand Teton National Park forced visitors to scrap long-planned vacations, and it cost local small business owners badly needed fall revenue. But it also left cash registers empty at the bookstores and entry gates that help fund the park. Based on 2012 October visitation numbers and a solid increase in park traffic so far this year, Grand Teton missed out on collecting an estimated $150,000 in entrance fee revenues during the shutdown. Continue Reading →

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Shutdown Alternatives: The Next Best Things in Cody

Cody, Wyo. is an authentic Western town that is home to several family-friendly attractions and events, including the Plains Indian Pow Wow at the Buffalo Bill Center for the West. Mikala SunRhodes, from left, Jasmine Walks Over Ice and Tia Hoops chat between dances at the 2008 Plains Indian Pow Wow.

Cody is an authentic Western cowboy town founded by and named after William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, famed scout and showman whose Wild West Show dazzled crowds across America and around the world. It features an authentic Wyoming small-town experience amidst some of the most spectacular natural scenery and amazing wildlife in the country. Continue Reading →

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Shutdown Alternatives: The Next Best Things in Montana’s Small Towns

Charming small towns across Montana offer a variety of authentic shopping, dining and cultural experiences.

Montana has more spectacular unspoiled nature than anywhere else in the lower 48 states, and that's not limited to our national parks. Our vibrant and charming small towns serve as gateways to natural wonders throughout the state providing breathtaking experiences by day and relaxing hospitality at night. It's important to remember that although the federal government may be shut down, Montana's State Parks, hundreds of day hiking trails in our national forests and our cities and towns are still open for business. Continue Reading →

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Protestors gather at East Gate to demand reopening of Yellowstone Park

Protestors gather at the East Gate to Yellowstone National Park on Sunday to demand a solution to the federal government shutdown that has closed national parks nationwide.

A grassroots protest Sunday afternoon at the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park was a study in contrasts, as environmentally minded nature-lovers joined Constitution-quoting small government advocates in showing support for the park, and to demand a solution to the government shutdown that has dragged on for two weeks. Despite temperatures in the low 40s and sporadic drizzle, approximately 75 people gathered for a half-hour demonstration during which anyone was allowed to speak, and that concluded with a spontaneous singing of "God Bless America." Continue Reading →

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