Thursday, December 5, 2013
By Michelle L. Price
(Continued from page 1)
Visitors to Zion National Park take in the sights after the park opened on a limited basis Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 near Springdale, Utah. Earlier Thursday, the Obama administration said it would allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks after a handful of governors made the request. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday he reached an agreement to pay $166,000 a day to the Interior Department to open Utah’s five national parks, while Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says she’d consider paying for a partial reopening of Grand Canyon National Park.
AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Trent Nelson
Hundreds of tourists flock to Grand Canyon Airport to take helicopter and plane tours as the only way they could see the Grand Canyon as the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park remains closed to visitors due to the continued federal government shutdown on Friday Oct. 11, 2013, in Tusayan, Ariz.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
The town of Tusayan, and area businesses have pledged $400,000 to help reopen the canyon, but Wilder said it was unclear if the Interior Department could accept private funds.
Interior Department spokesman Blake Androff said Thursday the government had no plans to reimburse states that pay to reopen parks. But members of Congress introduced legislation Friday to refund the money within 90 days.
In Utah, Herbert estimated the economic impact of the federal government shutdown at $100 million in his state.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration was working on a proposal to reopen parks in that state, including the Gateway Arch grounds in St. Louis and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park in southern Missouri.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said his state can’t afford to reopen its parks, as did Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.
Sandoval said Nevada is already facing critical funding decisions on dozens of programs, including food stamps, unemployment insurance and aid to women, infants and children.
In Wyoming, Gov. Matt Mead’s office said the state would not pay to reopen two heavily visited national parks or Devil’s Tower national monument.
“Wyoming cannot bail out the federal government and we cannot use state money to do the work of the federal government,” Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said.
Outside the Grand Canyon, some tourists made the most of their trek by taking photographs in front of the park’s sign.
Rassie Erasmus and his wife, Yolando, from Cape Town, South Africa, said they had been saving money for their trip to America for some time and were disappointed to find the park closed.
“We actually looked forward to going to the Statue of Liberty, but we believe that’s closed as well, so we’ll see what else is left,” Erasmus said. “Maybe Vegas.”
Follow Michelle Price at https://twitter.com/michellelprice . Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Matthew Daly in Washington, Brady McCombs in Utah, Brian Skoloff and Bob Christie in Arizona, Ken Ritter in Nevada, Colleen Slevin in Colorado, Mead Gruver in Wyoming, David Lieb in Missouri, Jonathan Lemire and Michael Virtanen in New York, and Chet Brokaw in South Dakota.