White House Will Allow States To Pay To Reopen Some National Parks

October 10, 2013 11:06 a.m.

The White House announced Thursday that states can pay to open certain national parks that have been closed due to the shutdown, according to the Associated Press

Multiple governors, including those in Utah, South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado have written to the Obama administration asking permission to reopen parks, citing economic needs.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said that the tourism industry in his state is hurting as a result of national park closures, according to the AP.

“The current federally mandated closure is decimating the bottom line of bed-and-breakfast business owners and operators in Torrey (Utah), outfitters at Bryce Canyon City and restaurant owners in Moab,” Herbert wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama.

While states will be allowed to cover the cost of reactivating employees, the federal government will still control the parks, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the AP. States can request permission to reopen parks with their own funds, but the federal government will decide which parks will be reopened, Blake Androff, a spokesman for Jewell told the AP.

Some states have reopened national parks with state workers without the go-ahead from the federal government.

Wisconsin lawmakers kept seven national parks open despite instructions to keep them closed, the Wall Street Journal reported, and county commissioners in Utah reopened some national parks on Wednesday.

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