Statue of Liberty Reopens Despite Government Shutdown

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The government shutdown has been hard on the National Parks Service. Many of its parks shut down earlier in October due to lack of funding from the federal government. In some cases, park closure meant a huge hit to state economies from lost tourism revenue.

"Every day that Liberty Island is closed means we are losing visitors who would otherwise be spending at our local businesses – not to mention the employees who maintain the park and have been forced out of work," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement on Friday.

So states struck a deal with the federal government that would allow parks to reopen at least temporarily with the help of state funding.

The National Parks Service provided a list of parks that will temporarily reopen on its website. Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks and Mount Rushmore are among those listed.

Both the Grand Canyon and Zion had been sites of protests in response to the shutdown:

Of the reopening of the Grand Canyon, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said:

“I’m gratified the Obama administration agreed to reverse its policy and allow Arizona to reopen Grand Canyon, Arizona’s most treasured landmark and a crucial driver of revenue to the state.”

Utah Governor Gary Herbert called the reopening of state parks in Utah a "godsend." He said that "Utah's national parks are the backbone of many rural economies and hard-working Utahns are paying a heavy price for this shutdown."

The price tag to reopen, even temporarily, will be steep. NPR provided the following information earlier today:

  • The Statue of Liberty - $369,300 for six days from Oct. 12-17 (New York)
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial - $152,000 for 10 days from Oct. 14-23 (South Dakota)
  • Grand Canyon - $651,000 for seven days from Oct. 12-18 (Arizona)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park - $362,700 for 10 days from Oct. 11-20 (Colorado)

The jubilant reactions to the reopenings by governors and other state officials indicates that the benefits to their economies far outweigh the price tag.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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