Sequestration and its inflexible cuts in federal spending will mean serious economic challenges to businesses near national parks and other federally managed recreation areas, lead to reductions in the quality of national park visits for millions of families, and hurt the national parks themselves according to the National Park Hospitality Association (NPHA), which represents national park concessioners across the country.
Many visitors to national parks rely on the large and small businesses that operate in the parks as concessioners, supplying lodging, food, transportation, retail needs and guide services. Those visitors spend more than $1 billion annually, supporting 25,000 jobs and payments of nearly $100 million in concessioner fees retained and used by the National Park Service. Spending cuts being considered by the National Park Service to meet sequestration requirements could force reduced operations and even closures by concessioners and reduce the revenue currently generated for the parks by visitors and concessioners. As NPHA Counselor Derrick Crandall pointed out, “There is real danger that $115 million in cuts caused by sequestration could directly trigger reduced visitation and spending which will magnify these cuts – in fact, in some cases, the impact could double.”