Utah Makes a Deal, Opening Their National Parks

Aaron Flint posted on October 11, 2013 09:30 :: 1509 Views


National parks in Utah will soon be open, as the Utah Governor says, let’s make a deal.  As for opening national parks in Montana- Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) says, no deal.  

Here’s the breaking news out of Utah, via Politico’s “Morning Energy:” 

UTAH WILL PAY TO OPEN PARKS: After the White House yesterday said it would consider letting states to front the costs of re-opening national parks, Utah and the Interior Department last night inked a deal under which the state to pay nearly $1.7 million in operating costs for its national parks to open for 10 days. Utah lawmakers next week could approve more money to keep the parks open longer in the event the federal shutdown stretches even longer. The state is hoping to recoup that money, but only Congress can authorize Interior to pay it back. Parks will start opening today and are expected to be fully operations by Saturday.

Here’s more from The Salt Lake Tribune:

Utah taxpayers will loan the federal government $1.7 million, enough to keep five national parks — Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef — and Natural Bridges, Glen Canyon and Cedar Breaks national monuments open for 10 days. The Legislature, which will meet in special session Wednesday, can approve funds to keep the areas open beyond that time.

October is a busy tourist season, with $100 million in revenue earned in the period. The deal will ensure the parks are open during the upcoming Columbus Day weekend, as well as the fall recess for Utah schools.

The agreement defuses a looming confrontation between the park service and some southern Utah counties whose elected leaders were bent on reopening park units with county sheriffs and personnel.

You may note in the last sentence that local officials were pressing to open up the parks with their own sheriffs if they had to.

At least one blog in Montana’s Flathead Valley is advocating similar action in an open letter to Flathead Sheriff Chuck Curry from PolyMontana.com: 

In behalf of the citizens of Flathead County, Montana, I request you take control of the gates of Glacier National Park and all Park lands in Flathead County, and open the park to all citizens.


Edwin X Berry, Ph.D., Bigfork, Montana

Manager and Editor, PolyMontana.com

As fo making a deal to opening national parks in Montana, Gov. Bullock says no, per The Missoulian:

Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday said he has no interest in allowing national parks in Montana to be reopened if the state has to pick up the costs until the federal shutdown ends.

“Of course not,” said Bullock, a Democrat. “When I say that it’s long past time to open up the government and end this reckless and job-killing shutdown, I mean the entire government

Later Thursday, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said he planned to introduce legislation to ensure that states are fully reimbursed within 90 days for any state funds spent to pay for National Park operations.

Quote of the week on polls/shutdown,from ABC/FOX Montana:

“My question is who are those 5 percent that still approve of Congress? The whole system is broken and Americans and Montanans are rightly outraged by what’s going on back here,” Daines (Rep. Steve Daines) said.

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