Some national parks to reopen in Utah, Colorado

Associated Press
FILE - This Oct. 3, 2013 file photo shows a sign at the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz., indicates the park is closed. The Obama administration says it will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks that have been closed because of the government shutdown. Governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures. (AP Photo/Brian Skoloff, File)
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TUSAYAN, Ariz. (AP) — Colorado's governor has struck a deal with federal officials to reopen one of its national parks, becoming the second state to accept an offer to send money to the federal government to save lucrative tourist seasons.

Federal officials announced Friday that Colorado has agreed to pay about $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park through Oct. 20.

The Obama administration on Thursday announced it would allow states to foot the bill for reopening parks.

Utah was the first taker, with Gov. Gary Herbert wiring $1.67 million to federal officials to temporarily reopen five national parks and other national park units by Saturday.

Interior Department spokesman Blake Androff said the government does not plan to reimburse states that pay to reopen parks. Costs could run into the millions of dollars.

Figures compiled by a coalition of retired park service workers indicate that some 700,000 people a day would have been visiting the 401 national park units and that the surrounding areas are losing $76 million in visitor spending daily.

The park service said it is losing $450,000 per day in revenue from entrance fees and other in-park expenditures, such as campground fees and boat rentals.

In Wyoming, Gov. Matt Mead's office said the state would not pay to reopen two heavily visited national parks or the Devil's Tower national monument.

"Wyoming cannot bail out the federal government and we cannot use state money to do the work of the federal government," Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said.

Meanwhile, the park service said it is reopening to tourists a highway pull-off area in South Dakota that can be used to view and photograph Mount Rushmore from a distance.

Hundreds of tourists had complained that park rangers blocked drivers from pulling over to take photos of the South Dakota monument, which features the stone-carved faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

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