Shutdown Could Hit Fat Bear Week

Voting will continue, but National Park Service won't be able to provide updates
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2023 4:05 PM CDT
Shutdown Could Hit Fat Bear Week
Stock image of a bear in Alaska.   (Getty Images/N8tureGrl)

If a government shutdown happens, it could lead to not only furloughed workers and shuttered national parks, but it might mess up a popular contest for wildlife lovers, reports ABC News. If continued funding for the government isn't approved by midnight on Saturday, the National Park Service won't be able to promote or otherwise mention Fat Bear Week—a contest in which fans vote for the bear who's become the chonkiest while putting on weight for winter's hibernation at Alaska's Katmai National Park. Participants use live-cams operated by to watch the bears.

Voters should still be able to cast their ballots for the bear they believe best "exemplifies fatness," starting next Wednesday through Oct. 10, because voting takes place on a platform not tied to the government. But NPS itself won't be able to host the event or provide updates, per the Anchorage Daily News. The AP notes that the bear vote won't be the only thing tied to the national parks that may suffer if the government shuts down: Around 13,000 park rangers will be furloughed, and entrances to most of the nation's 420-plus parks will be closed, per the Department of the Interior. Some governors have vowed to keep major parks like the Grand Canyon and Zion open with state funding. (Read more government shutdown stories.)

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