States to Pay Feds Millions to Reopen National Parks

Sunday, 13 Oct 2013 08:21 AM

By Audrey Hudson

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More than a dozen national parks and memorials are set to reopen for 10 days under an agreement that has five Western states paying the Obama administration millions of dollars to cover federal employee salaries and maintenance costs.

The Washington Post reports that icons such as the Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore will reopen after park service employees tear down the barriers it erected to prevent the public from entering the federal properties.

Utah will pay $1.7 million to open Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks, along with Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Cedar Breaks and Natural Bridges national monuments.

Colorado will pay $363,000 to reopen the Rocky Mountain National Park, Arizona's cost to reopen the Grand Canyon is $651,000 and New York will pay $369,000 to allow visitors into the Statue of Liberty.

The agreement comes as Congress prepares for a joint committee investigation this week into the closure of the nation's 400 parks and memorials, including war memorials in Washington, D.C.,that were barricaded and guarded by armed park police to block veterans from paying homage.

The House Natural Resources Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will examine whether the Obama administration's actions were arbitrary to make the shutdown as painful as possible on the public.

"Why now, after more than a week of refusing to allow states to pay to keep national parks open, is the Obama administration suddenly reversing course?" Rep. Doc Hastings, Washington Republican and chairman of the resources panel said in a statement.
"It appears they are truly just making this up as they go along, as they have put out one inconsistent policy after another," Hastings said.

In their zeal to shut down federal properties, park service employees kicked private property owners out of their homes along Lake Mead in Nevada because the structures were built on federal property.

However, the Obama administration was forced to apologize and reopen George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon after they were informed the property belongs to the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Related stories:

Million Veteran March on Sunday to Show Support for Military

Americans Enter Closed National Parks in Civil Disobedience

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