Friday, October 11, 2013

Utah's National Parks Will Reopen Despite Ongoing Government Shutdown

Re-posted by Nicholas Stix

Utah's National Parks will reopen despite ongoing government shutdown
By Lesile Bentz
Fri October 11, 2013; updated 1:32 A.M. EDT

Empty tables overlooking Seal Rocks are seen inside the closed Cliff House on Wednesday, October 9, in San Francisco. The 150-year-old oceanside icon was ordered closed Wednesday by the National Park Service for the duration of the partial government shutdown, leaving most of the restaurant's 170 employees without work. The federal government entered a shutdown October 1, furloughing hundreds of thousands of workers. Many government services and agencies remain completely or partially closed.

Government shutdown: Sorry, we're closed

• Officials will open eight locations by Saturday
• Utah's governor announced the deal on Thursday
• "Utah's national parks are the backbone of many rural economies," Governor Gary Herbert says

(CNN) -- Leaders in Utah say they found a way to get around the government shutdown.

Utah will reopen its five national parks by Saturday, as well as three other nationally run locations.

Utah's Governor Gary Herbert made the announcement Thursday, saying a deal had been reached with the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

"Utah agrees to pay the National Park Service (NPS) up to $1.67 million— $166,572 per day—to re-open eight national sites in Utah for up to 10 days. If the federal government shutdown ends before then, the State will receive a refund of unused monies" an official press statement explained.

The deal would reopen Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks. The other three locations that will be opened are Natural Bridges and Cedar Breaks national monuments, as well as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Budget talks, but no deal

"Utah's national parks are the backbone of many rural economies and hard-working Utahns are paying a heavy price for this shutdown," Herbert said in the released statement. "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."

October is an especially profitable month for Utah's national parks, since optimal weather attracts a high volume of tourists. Typically, officials estimate a $100 million yield for the month, so the parks' closures would have had an especially high impact on the state.

The Department of the Interior is now awaiting a transfer of funds from Utah, at which point it will notify "site-specific" personnel to return to work. The process of opening the parks after receiving the money should take some time, but in a statement from the governor's office, the state anticipates all sites should be "fully operational by Saturday".

In the event that the federal government shutdown drags on longer than the 10 days that have been accounted for, the state of Utah insists it would be able to make additional payments to keep the parks operational.

The agreement between Herbert and Jewell stipulates that the money spent by the state can be reimbursed with Congressional approval. However, as with other funds spent during the shutdown, Congress is under no obligation to refund the bill.

It seems Herbert is quite intent on pursuing repayment, with his office telling reporters "the Governor has engaged Utah's congressional delegation to actively pursue timely repayment to state coffers."


Anonymous said...

I used to ride a dirt bike as a kid, we rode in trail riding areas but stayed off the streets. Cops would never have allowed us to do what these bikers are doing. There was a local biker club called the Gypsy Jokers, I guess the Pacific NW version of Hells angels that we used to see riding around sometimes, they kind of scared me but the cops were always on their tails and never would have allowed this kind of behavior from them. Of course, they (or we) weren't part of a protected minority that would raise hell if the cops knuckled down on us.
This doesn't mention anything about the SUV beating but I think it's part of the rise of minority biker gangs, something stereotyped to be a white thing. This modern "hands off", let 'em do what they want, attitude form law enforcement would have been unthinkable when I was growing up. The Lien family fully understands what it leads up to. Jerry

Anonymous said...

I'm not surprised at it anymore but it's astounding how many of these reports involve one particular group. Jerry
The band plays on...