Press Release

Trump shutdown threatens parks and public safety

U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, DC

U.S. Capitol Dome in Washington, DC

Mason Cummings (TWS)

Trump shutdown threatens parks and public safety

Wilderness Society response to the government shutdown

December 21, 2018

Statement by Jonathan Asher, Government Relations Manager, Conservation Funding, The Wilderness Society

“President Trump’s threat to hold the government hostage for a destructive border wall is irresponsible and dangerous. A shutdown of the EPA and public lands agencies would put people at risk and imperil the hundreds of millions of acres managed by federal agencies for the American people. 

The idea of keeping park gates open while shutting down services and sending rangers home is window dressing at best – an attempt to avoid bad optics that will only lead to bad outcomes.”

Additional Background and Datapoints:

According to Senate Appropriations Committee staff, a shutdown could have these effects:

Working without Pay:  More than 420,000 federal workers may be working without pay over the holidays, including 5,000 Forest Service firefighters.

Furloughed for the Holidays:  More than 380,000 federal workers may be furloughed as nine out of 15 federal departments and dozens of agencies will close. This includes 28,800 Forest Service staff and 16,000 National Park Service staff.

Local Businesses near Public Lands:  A shutdown will affect the economies of local communities that depend on national parks for tourism.  The National Park System sees an estimated half a million visitors per day in winter months who spend $19 million per day in nearby park communities. Many of those dollars are spent in small businesses such as restaurants, shops, lodges and local outfitters,

National Parks: During the brief shutdown earlier this year, many of the national parks were either closed or made unsafe because they were significantly understaffed or kept partially opened. Tourists could not visit our most famous sites like the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell, and  Pearl Harbor nor could they use the bathroom in the Smokey Mountains, Mammoth Cave, and Valley Forge.


Jonathan Asher, Government Relations Manager, Conservation Funding, 202-429-2693, [email protected].

Michael Reinemer, Communications Manager, 703-966-9574, [email protected].

The Wilderness Society is the leading conservation organization working to protect wilderness and inspire Americans to care for our wild places. Founded in 1935, and now with more than one million members and supporters, The Wilderness Society has led the effort to permanently protect 109 million acres of wilderness and to ensure sound management of our shared national lands. Visit