As the partial government shutdown heads into its fifth week, private businesses continue to pour thousands of dollars to help keep National Parks open and accessible.
Every day, Park Service employees are responsible for grooming hundreds of miles of snow-covered roads in Yellowstone National Park. That maintenance would have stopped with the shutdown. But some local businesses have stepped up.
“We need to do this to keep the park accessible to the public, and obviously keep our businesses open," says Rick Hoeninghausen, director of sales and marketing at the privately-owned Yellowstone Park Lodges. His company partnered with the other park concessionaires and outfitters to pick up the tab for snow grooming. Hoeninghausen says it’s around $7,500 a day.
“We all want this to end, we’d prefer there were no shutdowns," says Hoeninghausen. "But they are the circumstances and we’re going to work with them.”
Businesses, states and nonprofits are also stepping up to help parks across the country. At last count, The Park Service has received more than $2 million in donations and in-kind services to help maintain parks so far.
Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.
Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.