One of the more noticeable effects of the federal government shutdown has been the closure of national parks and national monuments across the nation. National parks are important to us as a nation: they allow us to escape from our busy “modern” lives and return to nature.
For the communities around our national parks, tourism is the backbone of their economy. Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert signed an agreement with the Department of the Interior to use $1.67 million of state funds to keep eight national parks open to the public. Utah state officials estimate that about $100 million is generated from tourism in the month of October alone, and park closures would have a negative impact on the state’s tourism. With this kind of financial impact, it is understandable that Idaho agreed to fund Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Cedar Breaks National Memorial, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument and Zion National Park through October 20th.
Colorado, New York, South Dakota, and Arizona also came to agreements with the Department of the Interior, opening Rocky Mountain National Park (open Oct. 11-20), Statue of Liberty National Monument (open Oct. 12-17), Mount Rushmore National Monument (open Oct. 14-23), and Grand Canyon National Park (open Oct. 12-18).
This is great news if you are planning on visting these parks this week, but I also want the National Park Service website back online so I can start planning my next outdoor adventure!