Flake Bill Could Keep Parks Open During Government Shutdowns

November 21, 2013

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake has introduced a bill aimed at keeping national parks and other public land open during future government shutdowns.  

The Public Access to Public Lands Guarantee Act would require the federal government to enter into an agreement with a state or local government that is willing to pay to keep parks open. Flake said it seeks to prevent the feds from denying or delaying the negotiation of such deals.

During the most recent shutdown, Gov. Jan Brewer asked the president to be able to put up money to keep the Grand Canyon open. It took several days to make that happen.

The National Park Service estimates Grand Canyon National Park lost nearly 187,000 visitors during October’s 16-day government shutdown. That amounted to $19 million in lost revenue. Overall, the park service said national parks lost a combined 12 million visitors, at a cost of more than $500,000 million.