Several Parks Opening Through Deal With Feds
The Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon are to reopen despite the U.S. government shutdown, with states temporarily paying the running costs of world-famous landmarks shuttered by the standoff.
The Global Post reported that Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain National Park and eight federal sites in Utah will also reopen starting this weekend, officials said Friday, although other world-famous destinations including Yosemite National Park and Alcatraz prison remain closed.
The federal National Park Service announced deals with the states of New York, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and South Dakota, under which the states agree to fund the sites which draw millions of tourists and in many cases keep local economies afloat.
Arizona governor Jan Brewer hailed the deal to reopen the Grand Canyon ahead of a three-day public holiday weekend.
“With a long weekend in front of us, I am thrilled Grand Canyon will be open and fully operational,” she said.
This was important “not only for our national and global travelers who have long awaited to experience one of the world’s seven natural wonders, but for the nearby businesses and communities whose livelihood depends” on tourism, she added.
More than 400 federally managed tourist sites across the nation have been closed since the shutdown started at the start of October due to a budget impasse between Republicans and Democrats.
The stalemate is costing $152 million a day in lost travel-related activity, affecting up to 450,000 American workers, according to the US Travel Association. Alone some 20,000 park services employees were furloughed.
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