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National Park Numbers Not Nice

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WEST GLACIER -

For national parks, the numbers look pretty grim at day ten of the government shutdown.

The Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park is almost empty, but not quite. Visitors can still get into the park if they are visiting one of three businesses that have not closed their doors in West Glacier, like the Montana House.

"They just try to come no matter what the news has been," said Monica Jungster, the Montana House's owner.

According to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees, the Park has already lost more than sixty thousand visitors and the more than three million dollars they would have contributed to the local economy only in the last ten days.

The Coalition claims Yellowstone National Park is hurting even worse--forfeiting more than ninety eight thousand visitors and more than nine million dollars. These staggering numbers make sense in context. Fall is usually a busy time for the Montana House.

"This looked like a very good one with the west side of the Going to the Sun Road open," said Jungster, "It will be less than a good one."

Even the Park's spokeswoman, Denise Germann, has been reduced to a recording.

"Hi. This is Denise Germann with the National Park Service at Glacier National Park. Because of the federal government shutdown, I have been furloughed. I will be checking messages periodically," explains her voicemail recording.

It is not just a national issue, though.

"This is my second time and we planned this holiday for quite a while and we were extremely surprised and amazed when we heard that kind of news," said Benjamin Chen, a tourist in Glacier National Park.

Chen is visiting from Hong Kong with his wife. They are staying in Whitefish for the final leg of a three week trip. For now, this is as much as they can see of the Park.

Jungster has already laid off one employee, but plans to maintain abbreviated store hours.

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