America needs more national parks

The House Republicans’ 16-day government shutdown cost the economy $24 billion, shaved .25 percent from fourth-quarter economic growth and damaged the reputation of the United States.

But for many Americans, it was the closure of 401 national parks and monuments that brought the shutdown home. Each day of the shutdown, communities near parks lost an estimated total of $76 million in economic activity.

Of the many lessons our leaders ought to learn from the shutdown, this one is central: America’s parks are a national treasure and a crucial economic engine for many parts of the country. Elected leaders should take swift action to open new parks, wildlife refuges, monuments and recreation and wilderness areas for the enjoyment of the public instead of slashing budgets, laying off rangers and closing parks.

This article was originally published in Politico.