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Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, other national parks to reopen during shutdown

National Park Service

The Statue of Liberty had been open after repairs only three months when it had to close again last week because of the government shutdown.

The National Park Service reached agreements late Friday to keep some of the U.S.'s most iconic national parks and landmarks open during the federal government shutdown, breaking a logjam that had blocked vital tourist revenue for several states.

Among the attractions that will reopen as early as Saturday are the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore and Rocky Mountain National Park. 

All of the deals are structured similarly: States where the attractions are located will pay to recall National Park Service personnel from furlough, with either state funds or private donations.

The deals aren't cheap: 

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that New York would shell out $61,600 a day to keep Liberty Island National Park open beginning this weekend.
  • Arizona will be on the hook for $651,000 bill to reopen Grand Canyon National Park for just one week, NBC station KPNX of Phoenix reported after Gov. Jan Brewer tweeted the "Great News!"
  • Gov. Dennis Daugaard said in a statement that South Dakota would pay $15,200 a day from private donations to reopen Mount Rushmore beginning Monday.
  • And Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement that Colorado would fork over $362,700 to reopen its parks and monuments, notably Rocky Mountain National Park.

The federal shutdown last week closed all 401 national parks, resulting in furloughs for more than 20,000 Park Service employees. 

The announcements come a day after Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's office announced that it had struck a deal with the Interior Department to reopen eight of the state's national parks and monuments.

Utah will pay $1.67 million to get people back in its national parks for up to 10 days. None of the payments will be reimbursed unless Congress passes a law to authorize refunds.


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