Commissioners in a southeastern Utah county declared a state of emergency Wednesday in response to the government shutdown’s closure of National Parks, and decided to re-open some parks in an act of “civil disobedience” to alleviate pressure on local businesses.
NPR reported the San Juan County Commission had decided to take down barricades at Natural Bridges National Monument as early as Thursday morning.
“This is civil disobedience,” said Phil Lyman, a CPA and county commissioner, as quoted by NPR. “What’s happening to us is wrong.”
Rick Bailey, the county fire marshal, told NPR an estimated 70 percent of county businesses rely on visitors to the area’s parks.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) asked President Barack Obama to authorize state funding and/or staffing to keep the state’s National Parks open, according to NPR. The San Juan County Commission later put off taking down the barricades to give Herbert time to address the issue.