Park Service is in the process of negotiating similar agreements with other states
The National Park Service today announced that it has entered into an agreement with the State of Utah that will allow eight national parks in the state to re-open and temporarily operate during the government shutdown.
Due to the lack of appropriations from Congress, the Department of the Interior was forced to close all national parks across the country last week and furlough more than 20,000 National Park Service employees who ensure the safety of visitors and the security of the resources.
Responding to the economic impacts that the park closures are having on many communities and local businesses, Secretary of the Interior Jewell announced yesterday that she will consider agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states.
"This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in Utah during this shutdown," said Secretary Sally Jewell. "We want to re-open all of our national parks as quickly possible for everyone to enjoy and call on Congress to pass a clean continuing resolution to open the government."
Under the terms of the agreement, Utah will donate funds to the National Park Service for the sole purpose of enabling National Park Service employees to re-open and manage Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Zion National Park.
The agreement funds Utah's eight national parks for a period of 10 days, running from Friday, October 11 through Sunday, October 20 at the donated amount of $1,665,720.80.
The Antideficiency Act prohibits agencies from incurring obligations that are in advance of, or that exceed, an appropriation from Congress. During the shutdown, the National Park Service has closed and secured national park facilities and grounds and suspended all activities except for those essential to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.