LOS ANGELES – US national parks and monuments including the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon are to reopen despite the federal shutdown, after states agreed to fund them temporarily, officials said.
The National Park Service announced deals with the states of New York, Arizona, Colorado and Utah to reopen tourist sites closed since the US government partial shutdown came into force on October 1.
The New York agreement will allow funding for the Statue of Liberty for six days, beginning Saturday through October 17, with the state donating $369,300 to keep it running.
“This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in New York during this shutdown,” said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in a statement.
“We want to reopen 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,” she added.
Arizona has agreed to fund the Grand Canyon, visited by millions of tourists from all over the world every year, for seven days beginning Saturday, at a cost of $651,000, her office said.
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park will be funded for 10 days beginning Friday at a cost of $362,700, and eight national parks and monuments in Utah will reopen also for 10 days beginning Friday at a cost of $1.666 million to the western US state.
It was not immediately clear whether the money would be reimbursed to the states once the federal shutdown ends, or what will happen after the duration of each agreement. Earlier, when only details about Utah had been announced, officials said that states could keep the sites open beyond the end of each deal.
More than 400 federally managed tourist sites ranging from California’s Yosemite National Park to the Statue of Liberty have been closed since the shutdown started at the start of October due to a budget impasse.
The stalemate is costing $152 million a day in lost travel-related activity, affecting up to 450,000 American workers, according to the US Travel Association. Alone some 20,000 park services employees were furloughed.