BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The popular Painted Canyon scenic overlook area in southwestern North Dakota is falling victim to federal spending cuts.
Officials at Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced this week that they have decided not to open the overlook along Interstate 94 in April because of the automatic federal spending cuts that took effect March 1.
"We had planned to have Painted Canyon open April 19-Oct. 31," park spokeswoman Eileen Andes said. "Because of budget cuts, it will be closed until further notice."
Nearly 300,000 vehicles stopped at the overlook just east of Medora last year. It features a majestic view of the North Dakota Badlands, as well as a visitor center.
U.S. Sen. John Hoeven said Thursday he was working with Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis to come up with a way to keep the site open. The North Dakota Republican said his staff is organizing a Painted Canyon working group that will include representatives from the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Medora mayor's office, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and state agencies, including the Tourism Division.
"Tourism today is one of our state's largest industries, and we appreciate Director Jarvis's understanding of that and his willingness to work with us," Hoeven said in a statement. "Working with him and the affected communities, we will try to find a way to keep this remarkable sight open so that North Dakotans and visitors from across the nation and around the world can enjoy the beauty of our Badlands."
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