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Utah Reaches $1.7 Million Deal To Open Five National Parks In State


Five national parks in Utah, plus one national recreation area and two national monuments, will reopen, temporarily, under a deal the state reached with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

Under the agreement, the state will provide $1.67 million so Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Zion national parks, along with Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridges national monuments, and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area can open for up to ten days.

“Utah’s national parks are the backbone of many rural economies and hard-working Utahns are paying a heavy price for this shutdown,” Governor Gary Herbert said in announcing the agreement. “I commend Secretary Jewell for being open to Utah’s solution, and the world should know Utah is open for business and visitors are welcome.”

Under the terms of the deal, the Interior Department will notify site-specific personnel to return to work as soon as the state wires the money. Secretary Jewell indicated to the governor that within 24 hours of receiving wired funds, the national sites could be open and fully operational. At the time of this release, Utah expects parks to become fully operational by Saturday.

Utah’s initial funding for the agreement will come from existing resources within the Division of State Parks of the Department of Natural Resources. Further action may be warranted by the Utah State Legislature in a special session expected for next Wednesday, October 16. The Governor’s Office continues to work closely with legislative leaders to make DNR whole and identify optimal solutions. If the government shutdown continues beyond 10 days, Utah can make additional payments to keep the national parks and monuments open, a release from the governor's office said.

While Secretary Jewell made it clear to the governor that she cannot obligate the federal government for reimbursement to the State, the agreement stipulates repayment will be possible with approval from the U.S. Congress. Consequently, the governor has engaged Utah’s congressional delegation to actively pursue timely repayment to state coffers.

Elsewhere in the country, officials in Wyoming, California, and Washington state said they would not try to fund the reopening of national parks in their states.


Heck, Ron, just the normal day-to-day insanity in Congress has produced years of "chaotic" results . . . . .

Sara, interesting post. I agree, the unintended consequences of the partial government shutdown, in my opinion, are resulting in some "chaotic" results.

The McLean Lacrosse Association got a temporary restraining order against the NPS from a federal judge who happens to live in McLean. Now, the Glen Echo Partnership in Maryland wants to be allowed to operate their portion of Glen Echo Park(also part of the GW Memorial Parkway unit) because of what happened at Claude Moore and Langley Fork. This could get chaotic.

You make an excellent point Alfred Runte. I found your post very informative. I think the realization of how important the parks are even if it just from economic perspective, and that is very important to local residents and business, their employees, etc., is well taken. A question, I am still bothered by the piece meal approach. Is this an issue? I do think it is the responsibility of the US Congress to fund our National Parks (and all our governmental functions), that they have been unwilling to date to due that is tragic. In any case thanks again for the post. I would also like to thank Sara, I agree that money has influence, the more money the more influence. Weather that is good or bad I guess depends on where you sit in the income pecking order. It does lead to resentment however when it gives perks to neighborhoods that others do not have (along with many other advantages including access). EC, you might want to research how much it costs to file a lawsuit, even for a nonprofit. Here in California you are looking at 15,000 just to get all your filings in. . Litigation can last years, and normally, in my limited experience, its something you do only as a last resort.

Thirty years on Wall Street and then moving into real estate. And then defending the fat cats who buy and build McMansions.

Time to move along, folks. Nothing new here.

The same kind of mentality that leads to cutting trees along a scenic easement by the Potomac River and then canning the ranger who tried to blow the whistle.

Lee - I don't think you would find a soul here that thinks that was right

Or the mentality that produces a mansion on a bluff in Zion where it is visible for miles.

Or probably that.

Or the mentality of people here in my own county who build multi-million vacation "cabins" on mountaintops and then complain their taxes are too high while demanding -- and receiving -- incredibly expensive snow removal paid for by the rest of us.

But that is totally bogus. I live in such a community (Breckenridge) where people are building multi-million vacation "cabins". I have never heard any of them complain their taxes are too high. Furthermore the taxes for snow removal are miniscule. All street maintenance is 4% of our town's budget and our town's share of the property tax bill is 13%. So .52% (4% of 13%) of our taxes are paid for all street maintenance and snow removal would be a fraction of that. In contrast 38% of our property taxes go to the local schools and another 8% to the community college. But our second home owners (80% of the properties) don't have anyone going to these schools. Not only are they not getting any benefit for 46% of the taxes they pay, they don't even get to vote on how their money is spent. Who is it that is paying for services for others? Who is it that feels "entitled"?

Your perception of the world is so far from reality it is scary. Unfortunately, its all too common an afflication.

{edit} Actually, I over estimated the share of the maintenance budget to the total property tax bill as street maintenance is 4% of the total town budget and the town has revenue from many other sources - again primarily out of towners with lodging taxes, and real estate transfer taxes. So when you get down to hit, snow removal might be in the .1-.2% of all property tax. So much for your big subsidy Lee

re: "Let's talk about the parks, instead."

A really good idea :-)

You're the perfect liberal Lee.... Your envy of those who have more because they worked more is unequaled...

This is such a ridiculous and hackneyed caricature of a liberal, I would have guessed that it was actually written by a liberal caricaturing a conservative. Let's talk about the parks, instead.

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