Government shutdown forces closure of Cuyahoga Valley National P - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Government shutdown forces closure of Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) -

Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national parks, including Cuyahoga Valley National Park. All facilities including vis[tor centers, restrooms, the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, and other trails are closed. The park will remain closed until the government reopens.

Chief Ranger Chris Ryan said that park visitors staying at the Stanford Backcountry Camping Area will be given until 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, October 3 to make travel arrangements and leave the park.

The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park will continue to have programs at the Environmental Education Center through a cooperative agreement with the NPS and the Heritage Series will continue at Happy Days Lodge under a lease agreement. Trail Mix Boston and Trail Mix Peninsula remain open because they are on private property. Staff at these facilities can direct the public to adjacent recreation areas that are not affected by the shutdown such as MetroParks Serving Summit County and Cleveland Metroparks. Please see www conservancyforcvnp.orp for more information.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad will not operate during the shutdown. They will be making the decision each day at 3p.m. if the next day's trains will be cancelled. Tickets for the Polar Express are still on sale. Please see www.cvsr.com for more inlormation.

Oct. 2. 2013 4:04PM Cuyahoga Valley National Park No. 1201 P. 2/2

The Countryside Initiative Farms within the park are privately leased and are unaffected by the closures. The Farmers' Market at Howe Meadow operates on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. If the closure is still in effect at noon on Friday, the Market will move to its winter location at Old TraH School. Please see www.cvcountrvside.org for more information.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park hosts an average of 1,650 visitors on the Towpath Trail alone each day in October and many people come to the park to see the spectacular fall colors; nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System. Nationwide the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping. Gateway communities across the country see about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown. A report shows that visitors to Cuyahoga Valley National Park spent $51,473,000 in communities surrounding the park in 2011. This spending supported 728 jobs in the area.

In Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 109 employees are on furlough because ot the shutdown. Eighteen employees remain on duty to protect human life and property. Chief Ranger Ryan asks for the cooperation of the public to respect the closures so law enforcement rangers can focus their efforts on response to emergencies involving safety.

Nationwide the shutdown has also furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees; approximately 3,000 employees remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety, and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees are also affected.

Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million unique visitors each year.

For updates on the shutdown, please visit http://www.doi.gov/shutdown/index.cfm.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park encompasses 33,000 acres along the Cuyahoga River between Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Managed by the National Park Service, the park combines cultural, historical, recreational, and natural activities in one selling.

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