Federal Government Shutdown
2:03 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

A federal government shutdown means the Arch shuts down, too.

With the possibility of a federal government shutdown looming comes a less-obvious consequence.

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that if the shutdown occurs, a signature landmark of St. Louis, the Gateway Arch, would also close.

According to the Business Journal, the grounds surrounding the landmark would not be closed, but the Arch itself, along with the Old Courthouse and museum, would shutter. The 150 workers employed on the grounds may also be affected, especially those who maintain the area:

With no gate, the surrounding grounds would stay open but the Arch, Old Courthouse and museum would be closed, said Tom Bradley, superintendent of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which includes them all.

Park rangers and law enforcement would still work but there would be limited maintenance so the grass, for example, wouldn't be cut, he said.

For a little historical context on the affects of the last government shutdown on national parks, the Business Journal provides the following information:

  • During the last federal government shutdown, for 20 days in 1995, officials were forced to close 368 National Park Service sites.
  • Overall, national parks lost 7 million visitors, with an expected cost of $14.2 million per day in tourist revenue, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
  • The states also lost sales tax revenue because visitors were not spending on hotel, restaurant, or other travel related expenditures, according to the study.

Bradley told the Business Journal that he has not yet received instructions yet for a possible shutdown from the National Park Service, nor the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, but expects to receive some guidance as soon as tomorrow.