The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

October 13, 2013

Grand Canyon back open for business

(Continued)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. —

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees have been furloughed, and lawmakers from both parties have complained that the closures have wreaked havoc on communities that depend on tourism.

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, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert estimated the economic impact of the federal government shutdown at $100 million in his state.

Missouri Democrat 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, a Democrat, said his state can’t afford to reopen its parks, as did Nevada Republican 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, Republican 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.

At the Grand Canyon on Saturday afternoon, Joe Del Monte and his family planned to do some hiking and “soak in as much as possible and enjoy the nice weather.”

The family had planned the trip to canyon from suburban Phoenix for their children’s mid-winter break from school. He kept their hotel reservations in Tusayan, just outside the South Rim entrance, while they visited Sedona, holding out hope that his son’s wish to throw a stick into the Grand Canyon would be fulfilled.

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