National parks open: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion national parks, Natural Bridges, Cedar Breaks national monuments, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are scheduled to open this weekend despite the government shutdown after Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert was able to reach a deal with the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. The deal was signed and entails that state governments would pay with state money for the opening of the national parks, reported CNN on Oct. 11, 2013.
“Utah agrees to pay the National Park Service (NPS) up to $1.67 million— $166,572 per day—to re-open eight national sites in Utah for up to 10 days. If the federal government shutdown ends before then, the State will receive a refund of unused monies.”
According to the CNN report, once the Department of the Interior receives the funding from the state of Utah, the Department of Interior will let personnel for the reopened national parks know that they can return to work.
“The process of opening the parks after receiving the money should take some time, but in a statement from the governor’s office, the state anticipates all sites should be ‘fully operational by Saturday’.”
In the event that the government shutdown should last longer than 10 days, the state of Utah is affirming that it would supply whatever funding necessary to keep the national parks open.
As of now, Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert and the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell have agreed that the funding provided by the state in order to open the national parks would be reimbursed if Congress approves it. While Congress has no obligation to support the funding, “”the Governor has engaged Utah’s congressional delegation to actively pursue timely repayment to state coffers.”
October is a month when many tourists visit national parks and not having the national parks open this year means losing an estimated $100 million per month.
In addition to Utah Governor Gary Herbert, governors from South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado have made similar offers in order to reopen their national parks.
On Thursday, the Obama administration said that it will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks that have been closed since Oct. 1, 2013, due to the government shutdown.
While Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Zion national parks, Natural Bridges, Cedar Breaks national monuments, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are scheduled to open by Saturday, no timeline has been provided yet for the opening of any other national parks.