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National parks to reopen - if states foot the bill

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

With the U.S. Partial government shutdown, national parks have been forced to close. Since thee parks play a very important part of many U.S. State's tourism dollars, many governors are now asking the Obama administration if they can reopen them. The White House says yes - on the condition that the states foot the bill for their upkeep.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has struck a deal with federal officials to reopen one of his state's national parks. Colorado has become the second state to accept the offer to send money to the federal government in order to save lucrative tourist dollars. Federal officials announced last week that Colorado has agreed to pay about $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park through October 20.

Utah Government Gary Herbert was the first, wiring $1.67 million to federal officials to temporarily reopen five national parks and one other national park units by this past weekend.

Arizona Republican Governor Jan Brewer announced last week that her state reached a deal with the Interior Department to pay for Grand Canyon National Park to completely reopen using state and local funds.

In addition, Arizona will pay the National Park Service $651,000 to keep the Grand Canyon open for a week.

The park service said it is losing $450,000 per day in revenue from entrance fees and other in-park expenditures, such as campground fees and boat rentals.

Officials in New York also reached an agreement with the federal government last week to reopen the Statue of Liberty. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo and the National Park Service says the state will pay about $61,600 daily to open Liberty Island National Park to visitors beginning this weekend.

"We will not allow this international symbol of freedom to remain closed because of the dysfunction and gridlock of Washington," Cuomo said in a release.

The National Park Service has furloughed more than 20,000 employees, said the agreement allows for the park on which the Statue of Liberty stands to open Saturday and remain open through Oct. 17 for about $369,000.

"This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in New York during this shutdown," Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.

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