Federal shutdown costly to U.S. national parks

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The shutdown of the federal government for 16 days in October affected more than just the operations in Washington D.C. The National Park System lost an estimated $414 million in visitor spending and saw 7.9 million fewer visitors during the sequester, according to a new report issued by the Department of Interior and NPS.

Moreover, towns near 45 national parks experienced a loss of more than $2 million in spending from tourists who would have stayed in their hotels, eaten in their restaurants or purchased groceries and other goods.

The three parks that lost the most money were Great Smoky Mountains, $25 million (reduction of 329,104 visitors); Grand Canyon, $17 million (reduction of 163,653 visitors); and Acadia, $16.2 million (192,604).

Pennsylvania gateway towns near national parks -- Gettysburg National Battlefield, Valley Forge, etc. -- experienced the 10th highest decline of states in the country, for a total loss of more than $15 million.

Thin wallets

You'd better have plenty of Ben Franklins on hand if you plan to take your family to Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida.

The park recently raised one-day admission tickets by $4 to $99. But it had just raised prices in June -- from $89 to $95.

Entrance to other Disney World parks rose by $4 as well -- Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Tickets are now $94.

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