Nonprofit partners of national parks also impacted by partial government shutdown

Published: Jan. 14, 2019 at 7:57 PM CST
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As the shutdown drags on, it isn't just federal employees who are feeling the impact of the dispute.

The Mount Rushmore Society is one of many nonprofits affected by the government shutdown.

Although visitors are able to enter Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Mount Rushmore Society bookstores remain closed.

The bookstores are located within government buildings at the park, which means some nonprofit staff cannot work.

A survey from the Public Lands Alliance says nationwide, more than $1.6 million in revenue have been lost due to a lack of retail sales and visitor programs.

Diana Saathoff, CEO, Mount Rushmore Society, says, "Every day that goes by, we lose revenue. But more importantly on a bigger picture, most national parks and their sites also have non-profit partners, so this is something that ripples out across the country."

The bookstores of Mount Rushmore Society raise funds for different educational programs such as the Junior Ranger program, but it's also unable to be run during the shutdown.

Diana Saathoff says, "With the national park service, they want to be at work. They have experienced their first missed paycheck as a result of this and nobody should have to go through that. With our sales associates who are currently not able to work on site, we are keeping them paid."

And Saathoff hopes the shutdown is over soon.

Diana Saathoff says, "I don't have a magic bullet as to how this should be resolved, but I will say it is the government's responsibility to open and to protect those public lands. It needs to get resolved because we are vulnerable and there is an economic impact."