The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Breaking News

October 11, 2013

Some states reopen national parks; others eye options

(Continued)

SALT LAKE CITY —

"It's going to be awesome," said Jenna Milligan of Zion Outfitters, an outdoor gear rental shop. "A lot of businesses have suffered severely because of the government. I just hope it does stay open through autumn."

In Colorado, officials said a deal had been struck for the state to pay $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 days to allow tourists to reach Estes Park. The visitors are needed to help the town recover from flooding.

Just over 400 national parks, recreation areas and monuments — including such icons as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite — have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees have been furloughed, and lawmakers from both parties have complained that the closures have wreaked havoc on communities that depend on tourism.

Officials in some states were not happy about paying to have the parks reopened.

In Arizona, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer balked at spending about $112,000 a day for a full reopening of the Grand Canyon. She said a partial reopening would be much cheaper while allowing tourists to visit and businesses to benefit.

"The daily cost difference is enormous, especially without assurances that Arizona will be reimbursed," said Andrew Wilder, a spokesman for Brewer.

In the end, Arizona agreed to pay the Park Service $651,000 to keep the Grand Canyon open for seven days. The $93,000 a day is less than the $112,000 the federal government had said was needed to fund park operations each day.

In additional to state money, cash provided by the town of Tusayan, just outside the South Rim entrance, and private business would also be included in the funding.

At this time of year, the Grand Canyon draws about 18,000 people a day who pump an estimated $1 million a day into the local economy.

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