The government shutdown has closed most of the major national parks in the United States but some states are now funding those programs. President Obama announced last week that national parks could reopen with state funding.
Realizing that their citizens want those parks opened lawmakers in Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Arizona, and New York jumped on the President’s invitation to reopen closed National Parks.
Officials in other states are still examining the cost of reopening the parks comparative to tourist spending.
In South Dakota several corporate donors worked with the National Park Service to reopen Mount Rushmore. According to Gov. Dennis Daugaard it costs $15,200 per day to keep the landmark operating.
In New York City Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is paying $61,600 per day to fully fund Park Service personnel and keep the Statue of Liberty open.
In Arizona the Grand Canyon National Park reopened on Saturday after state officials worked out a deal.
Utah, a state that relies on its five national parks to raise money agreed to reopen its National parks for 10 days at a cost $1.67 million. With National parks closed down in Utah, hotels were left empty during a typically busy part of the season, and shop owners complained about losing a large and lucrative part of their business year.
In Colorado officials agreed to reopen Rocky Mount National Park for 10 days at a cost of $360,000.
When the government shutdown began on October 1 more than 400 national parks, monuments, and recreational areas were closed. Among those to shutdown were the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. The parks were closed as 20,000 National Park Service employees were furloughed.
Officials from both the GOP and Democrat parties have complained about furloughing the workers in an industry that is needed to support tens of thousands of local businesses located around the National Parks system.
Do you think money making ventures like the National Park system should be protected from a government shutdown?