Brewster County Plans to Fight Government Over Shutdown 10/04/13
October 4, 2013
Alpine - Today marks the fourth day of the government shutdown, and counties that depend on revenue from their national parks are beginning to feel the pressure and are ready to do something about it. The Brewster County commissioners held a special meeting Thursday evening to determine if they will pursue litigation against the United States government.
Brewster County officials say without revenue coming in from the Big Bend National Park, this is their last resort.
The road to Big Bend National Park is empty, only those living or guarding the gates make the 60 mile drive from the nearest town to a once busy attraction. Brewster County is the largest county in West Texas and thrives on tourism of the Big Bend National Park.
“When they hear that the park is closed, they think that everything is closed, that is a huge impact on our tourism,” said Brewster County Judge Val Beard.
So as the government shutdown continues, Brewster county officials say they will take matters into their own hands if there is no end by October 7th.
“We will seek a temporary restraining order if the shutdown has not been lifted,” said Beard.
Officials say this is the first National Park to take such drastic measures, but for Brewster County it’s their only option. “It’s devastating, the amount of job loss that we have in the area. People are going to have to start laying off if we can’t get any revenue,” said the President of Brewster County Tourism Council Ron Sanders.
“Our hotels and motels are already experiencing cancellations, it starts there and then it spins out and affects the employees of the hotels and motels and it affects the restaurants, it affects the outfitters,” said Beard.
Previous shutdowns that only lasted one or two days never had an impact like this on the park, but as the national park approaches their busy season each day gets harder and harder. “To me it doesn’t look like it’s getting anywhere close to being over,” said Sanders.
If you are still looking for something to do in the big bend area, the state parks are still open. For a full list of those go to www.visitbigbend.com.