January 17

The Government Shutdown Impact on the National Parks: How to Help


govt shutdown blog vacationraces

The current government shutdown is impacting the National Parks in many ways and we’ve been getting questions about how it will affect our races. Without getting into politics, we figured it would be useful to share our thoughts on the current situation.

Due to the current government shutdown, the National Parks are operating with only about 20% of their staff. This has led to some challenges like a lack of trash removal, bathrooms not being maintained, and visitors creating their own roads and vandalizing wildlife. We’ve also seen stories of people who got injured or killed and couldn’t receive timely medical attention.

Will this impact Vacation Races events?

We don’t really expect much of an impact at all. Our courses sit just outside the National Parks and can continue whether the parks themselves are open or closed. Secondly, we don’t expect the shutdown to last much longer so the parks themselves will likely be back up and running by the time we kick off the first race of the 2019 season (the Zion Centennial Anniversary Half Marathon on February 23rd).

If the shutdown does happen to continue into race season, we’ll provide resources and information so our runners and their families can enjoy the parks with as little impact as possible. (If we all do our part, we can even leave them better than we found them!)

What can I do to help the National Parks?

When this is all over, the parks will open again but there will be a lot of work to do and Park budgets are already very limited. 

Donate or Raise Funds

Consider signing up for a Charity Bib or making a direct donation. (Navigate to the race information page for the park you want to help and look for the Donate button near the Sign Up button.) We cover all processing fees so that 100% of your donation can benefit the parks.

Since opening our doors, our runners have generously donated over $600,000 and it’s having a powerful impact.


Some of our runners and employees are planning or participating in “park clean ups” where the sole purpose of their visit is to pick up trash and pack it out. Small deeds like this can go a very long way!

Thank You

Thank you all for your care and concern, for reaching out to us with your questions, and for offering your support. We are and always have been dedicated to preserving the beauty of the areas we run in and nothing will ever change that.


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