EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


October 1, 2013

Shutdown could put crimp in fall tourism


Benna said the shutdown would come at a tough time.

“Many people come up here during foliage season,” she said. “This is our biggest season to continue doing construction contracts and start securing timber sales contracts.”

Benna said all 120 employees are being told to report to work today, no matter what happens.

“It may just be to close things down,” she said. “It depends what direction we are given.”

Gov. Deval Patrick said the shutdown is a “foolish” thing that would hamper the parks, services for people who receive a range of government benefits and the civilian military.

“A government shutdown is an avoidable and foolish thing, and I hope that the hard right gets responsible before the end of the day,” Patrick told reporters yesterday. Asked what the implications would be next year, an election year, Patrick said, “I hope that there are consequences for it. But I don’t know. American politics is still something I’m learning.”

Later in the afternoon, Patrick said, “I don’t think there’s a citizen who ought not be seriously dismayed by the willingness of a small group of radical right-wing Tea Party members to drive the economy and the country over a cliff.”

Massachusetts has 15 national parks which pour millions of dollars into the tourism economy. Travelers to Massachusetts in 2011 spent $17.7 billion, according to the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

The national parks in Massachusetts generated $432 million in “economic benefit” in 2011, and about 10.5 million people visited the state’s national parks in 2012, according to the National Park Service.

The national parks serve state residents as well, as school groups connect to the state’s history and natural landscape by visiting parks, such as the Saugus Ironworks, commemorating 17th century industry along the Saugus River, and preserved relics from the Industrial Revolution at Lowell National Historic Park and the old industrial waterways of the Blackstone River Valley.

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