Shelby: First up today, sightseers across the country are getting some good news and Demetrius is here to fill us in.
Demetrius: Right, Shelby. Some states are losing millions of dollars a day from the closures of national parks and monuments across the country due to the government shutdown. But now some are opening up their gates.
Aly Baltrus: We’re so glad to be able to say ‘yes’ to people and ‘welcome back’.
Demetrius: Some of the nation’s most popular tourist attractions are reopening today despite the government shutdown, but at a major price tag.
Ellen Raoul: It was really majestic to come in last night and drive in and see this arch looming and this gateway to the west. But the gate is locked, so to speak.
Demetrius: Without funding from the government, national parks and landmarks – like the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, and other iconic sites across the country – have been closed.
Sarah Bailey: I think it’s ridiculous. It’s taking away a part of our freedom to see our land, our home.
Demetrius: And while lawmakers in Washington work to end the gridlock, many states that rely on the tourism dollars at these locations have taken a major hit. But now, a few states are taking matters into their own hands. In New York, the governor worked out a deal that the state will pay the National Park Service fee, nearly $62,000 a day, to open up the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Arizona is paying $93,000 a day to open the Grand Canyon; Colorado, $36,000 a day for the Rocky Mountain National Park; and South Dakota will shell out $15,000 a day for Mount Rushmore. But Utah was hit the hardest with eight properties at $170,000 a day.
Governor Gary R. Herbert: The people that really make their livelihood on tourism travel, this is a godsend to them. They have been decimated because of this.
Demetrius: All five states are hoping to get reimbursed when the shutdown ends. But some fear this solution is setting a dangerous precedent.
Eddie Roth: The answer though is not to scrape together local dollars. It’s for the United States Congress to do its work and open up our national parks.
Demetrius: More than 700,000 people were visiting the national parks before the shutdown and local economies are now losing more than $76 million a day since the parks have been closed.
Shelby: Well, I am glad to hear some are opening, but you don’t have to go far to see the beautiful views of the national parks. Just check out our series over at Channelone.com.