Grand Canyon to reopen Saturday with state funds

Published on NewsOK Modified: October 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm •  Published: October 11, 2013

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona reached a deal Friday with the Interior Department to pay for Grand Canyon National Park to completely reopen using state and local funds during the federal government shutdown.

The National Park Service said Friday night that entrances to the park will open to the public at 8 a.m. Saturday, although services to visitors may be limited during the first 48 hours as vendors restock.

Gov. Jan Brewer's office said she would travel to the canyon's South Rim on Saturday morning to "celebrate the canyon's reopening."

"I'm gratified the Obama administration agreed to reverse its policy and allow Arizona to reopen Grand Canyon, Arizona's most treasured landmark and a crucial driver of revenue to the state," Brewer said in a statement.

Arizona will pay the National Park Service $651,000 to keep the Grand Canyon open for seven days. The $93,000 a day is less than the $112,000 daily rate the federal government said this week was needed to fund the park operations.

The funding includes cash provided by the town of Tusayan, just outside the park's South Rim entrance, and raised from private business. Together, they pledged $400,000.

The state's portion is coming from the Office of Tourism, said Andrew Wilder, spokesman for Brewer.

The Republican governor had been pushing to use state money to open only a portion of the park, something the Interior Department said Thursday it would not contemplate because of the complexities of keeping some parts of individual parks closed while other parts were opened.

National parks in Utah began opening Friday after Gov. Gary Herbert sent $1.67 million to the U.S. government, while Colorado paid $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park through Oct. 20.

The Interior Department is telling states they won't be reimbursed for their expenditures, but Brewer said she will push Congress to provide that funding.

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