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Editor’s Note: The following op-ed, authored by ORR Executive Director Jessica Wahl, examines the impact the shutdown is having on the outdoor recreation community.

The outdoor recreation community is unified in its message to Congress and the administration to end this shutdown immediately so federal workers, small businesses, rural communities and American families can get back to work and continue to enjoy public lands and waters.

As the shutdown goes through its fourth week, the negative impacts on land and water stewardship, visitor experiences, access and safety are already being felt by the outdoor recreation industry, which employs 4.6 million Americans. Rural and gateway communities across the country that rely on visits to America’s great outdoors are at risk of being hurt even more the longer the shutdown drags on.

Unfortunately, the shutdown is also adding to the growing $18.6 billion maintenance backlog on our public lands. Last year’s popular Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act — aimed at tackling the maintenance backlog on our public lands— had bipartisan support from hundreds of members of Congress and the administration. Yet every day the shutdown continues, we are losing much-needed revenue usually collected from entrance, camping and other recreation fees.

If shutdowns continue to become more prevalent – as we have seen in the past decade – there must be common-sense policy changes that keep our public lands open, safe and inoculated from issues that have nothing to do with the great outdoors.

For the full story click visit https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/energy-environment/425673-shutdown-fallout-hits-the-outdoor-recreation-economy.