National Parks Open

October 11, 2013 by  

National Parks Open, “This is a godsend!” exclaimed Utah Gov. Gary Herbert late Thursday night, as he signed an agreement with the Department of the Interior to use state funds to reopen eight national park areas in his state for at least 10 days.

The Republican governor wasted no time in wiring $1.67 million to Washington overnight so that some of the areas can open as early as Friday. Rangers and other National Park Service employees will staff the parks as usual.

“Utah’s national parks are the backbone of many rural economies, and hardworking Utahns are paying a heavy price for this shutdown,” Herbert said.

State officials say Utah tourism generates $100 million in revenue in October, which is a busy period, given foreign visitors, the Columbus Day holiday weekend and fall break next week for many public schools and universities.

“The key is you can’t make up what you lose in October,” Herbert said Friday morning on Salt Lake City television station KUTV.

The deal comes as officials in San Juan County were poised to dismantle barricades and take control of Canyonlands National Park; the Natural Bridges, Rainbow Bridge and Hovenweep national monuments; and Hite Marina in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

The National Park Service agreed to reopen Canyonlands, Natural Bridges and Glen Canyon, along with Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches and Bryce Canyon national parks, and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

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