Feds Let States Pay to Reopen National Parks
Under pressure from governors, the Obama administration said Thursday (Oct. 10) it will allow some shuttered national parks to reopen — as long as states use their own money to pay for park operations.
The Associated Press reported that governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the government will consider offers to use state money to resume park operations, but will not surrender control of national parks or monuments to the states.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said his state would accept the federal offer to reopen Utah’s five national parks.
Utah would have to use its own money to staff the parks, and it will cost $50,000 a day to operate just one of them, Zion National Park, said Herbert’s deputy chief of staff, Ally Isom.
It was not clear if the federal government would reimburse states that pay to reopen parks. Costs could run into the millions of dollars, depending on how long the shutdown lasts and how many parks reopen.
Governors of Arizona, South Dakota and Colorado have made similar requests to reopen some or all of their parks.
A spokesman for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said the Republican governor is committed to finding a way to reopen the Grand Canyon, one of the state’s most important economic engines
“It’s not ideal, but if there’s something we can do to help reopen it, Gov. Brewer has been committed to trying to find that way,” said spokesman Andrew Wilder.
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