Eds: Updates with approximate number of other campgrounds in the state that are not affected by the shutdown. AP Photo NY121. With AP Photos.
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- Some privately-run campgrounds in New Hampshire's White Mountains National Forest will be forced to close ahead of the lucrative Columbus Day weekend because of the federal government shutdown, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The closure of the 21 campgrounds and hundreds of camping sites comes at a particularly bad time: Early October is peak season for leaf-peeping and the long weekend is the third best for tourism in the state, behind the Fourth of July and Labor Day, according to New Hampshire tourism officials. Last year, some 600,000 people visited over the weekend, pumping nearly $90 million into the economy.
About 165 state and private campgrounds that do not contract with the federal government will remain open.
"I don't think we can speculate on a financial impact, but one of the great things about New Hampshire is that not only do we have the national forest campgrounds, we have private campgrounds and state campgrounds," said Tai Freligh, communications manager for the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development. "There are a lot of options. There's quite a bit of availability."
A spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service says not all campground operators have been notified yet because federal offices are down to skeleton crews during the shutdown. National parks and monuments are also closed.