GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK – While several Utah national parks and monuments began reopening Friday, Grand Canyon National Park remains closed due to a lapse in federal appropriations, though efforts have been made by state officials to reopen it.
In the first week of the federal government shutdown, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer asked the Department of the Interior to allow state and private interests to fund the reopening of the park, albeit a partial one. The DOI initially rejected the request.
However, on Thursday, it was announced that the federal government would allow states to fund the reopening of some national parks and monuments, provided the National Park Service retained full control and authority over these areas.
According to CBSNews.com, Brewer said she would consider funding a partial reopening of Grand Canyon, but had rejected the DOI’s insistence that state money be used to pay for the entire operation, a daily cost of $112,000.
According to ABC 15 News in Arizona, the park draws around 18,000 visitors per day, earning an estimated $1 million daily for the local economy.
The park remains closed as discussions between Arizona and the DOI continue. Once an agreement is reached, it may take a couple of days to reopen the park, Brewer told ABC 15 on Wednesday.
“We have to fund the federal park rangers, we have to call them back to work, so that’s not happening today,” she said. “And then we have to get the money first and foremost to the federal government so that we are honest, that we’ve got the funds, and then it’ll open.”
Park officials released the following statement concerning downstream Colorado River trips from Lee’s Ferry:
“All visitor facilities and recreational opportunities including visitor centers, park hotels, campgrounds, roads and downstream river launches are closed. The park will remain closed until federal appropriations are made available or an agreement between the Department of the Interior and the State of Arizona is reached.
Downstream Colorado River trips from Lee’s Ferry will remain on hold until the park reopens.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is allowing upstream travel to the dam from Lee’s Ferry based on funding received through the State of Utah agreement with the Department of the Interior.
On Oct. 7, Grand Canyon National Park announced its plan to accommodate river permit holders once the government reopens. Details were sent to each river permit holder outlining the options in the plan and any priority each may have.
Utah, Arizona, Colorado and South Dakota each petitioned the federal government to reopen national parks and monuments within those states. So far, only Utah and Colorado have worked out a deal, while Arizona and South Dakota continue to consider their options.
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- Letter to the Editor: Shutdown; can’t have your cake, eat it too – demanding parks stay open when closure hits home
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- Utah congressmen speak to government shutdown
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