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Grand Canyon And Other National Parks Reopen, On States' Dime

Sat, October 12, 2013 3:47pm

Story by Bill Chappell


Tourists stop on the roadside near Mount Rushmore, after their visit was canceled due to the government shutdown. South Dakota and other states have reached an agreement to fund operations to reopen the parks.

Thanks to agreements between the Department of the Interior and several states, a dozen popular national parks are open again, at least temporarily. The parks range from the Statue of Liberty to the Grand Canyon; the states are paying to keep them open for up to 10 days.

State officials say it's particularly important to have the parks open during the Columbus Day holiday weekend. National Park Service employees began opening some facilities Friday; others will reopen today or Monday.

Here's the list of parks, along with the number of days they'll be open, and the dollar figure attached to each deal:

  • The Statue of Liberty - $369,300 for six days from Oct. 12-17 (New York)
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial - $152,000 for 10 days from Oct. 14-23 (South Dakota)
  • Grand Canyon - $651,000 for seven days from Oct. 12-18 (Arizona)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park - $362,700 for 10 days from Oct. 11-20 (Colorado)

In addition, Utah officials reached a deal to reopen eight parks for 10 days from Oct. 11-20, thanks to a donation of $1,665,720.80:

Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Zion National Park.

"This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities" in areas affected by the shutdown, said Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of the Interior. She added that the agency wants to open all of the parks, calling on Congress to approve a funding deal.

The deal is "a godsend," Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said, according to NPR's Howard Berkes, who first reported on the developments earlier this week. Since then, other states have also agreed to terms.

"Utah's national parks are the backbone of many rural economies, and hardworking Utahans are paying a heavy price for this shutdown," Herbert said.

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