Utah’s State and Local Governments Deal with National Park Shutdowns

by Emily Bonney

Widener University Political Science Major

The government shutdown is affecting more than the vacationers’ itinerary in Utah as well as several other states hosting National Parks and Monuments. The closing of the parks is affecting the economy, shown by the five counties in Utah that declared a state of emergency for their economies.  Utah Counties threatened to bring some old western posse justice to the federal barricades to dismantle them due to the huge amounts of tourist revenue local towns missed out on during the shutdown. One mayor said their town had lost 40-60% of its business during the park closures. After engaging in discussions to reopen the parks during the shutdown, Utah Governor Herbert decided to staff it with volunteers and pay for the employees out of the State budget until the government reopened to help the communities suffering directly. Utah is paying over $1.5 million to keep them open for a week, which the article says will likely be reimbursed by Congress.

While this article is written about Utah there were several other states that were affected as well. The government shutdown, while now over, had serious repercussions and irreparable losses were made in some towns. Residents that depend on the revenues and Environmentalist groups are disappointed by what happened to the Forests, Parks, and Monuments during the crisis period because while they are a huge source of revenue they are also Wild lands that needed to be taken care of and thought of as more than money makers. Many of these parks bring in valuable resources and revenue to towns for other aspects of their government, like schooling and healthcare in the states. The Federal government did not factor these costs of living when they shut down, and now states are left to pick up the pieces.



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