Feds Could Allow Arizona To Re-Open Grand Canyon

October 10, 2013

The Obama administration says it may allow states to use their own money to re-open some national parks that have been closed because of the government shutdown. Governor Jan Brewer is one of a handful of governors who have been asking for that.  

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says the feds will consider offers to pay for park operations, but will not surrender control of national parks to the states. In addition to Arizona, the governors of Utah, Colorado and South Dakota have also asked to pay to re-open national parks.

A spokesman for Jewell says the Interior Department will consider agreements with governors who "indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to reopen national parks in their states." The agency, though, has not yet decided which parks to reopen, and for how long.

In her letter to President Barack Obama last week, Brewer wrote that using state and private money isn’t an ideal solution, but pointed out it had been done in the past at the Grand Canyon.

A spokesman for the governor says Arizona has not received official word from the Interior Department. He says Arizona can’t pay the federal government's bills indefinitely, but the economic impacts of Grand Canyon tourism cannot be ignored.