GOP Governors Push to Open Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore

by Andrew Johnson

Arizona governor Jan Brewer is urging the federal government to reopen Grand Canyon National Park during the shutdown, even offering to pay with state funds. Brewer’s request was rejected by the National Park Service on Thursday.

Not only has the shutdown affected the 2,200 furloughed park employees, but the economic reverberations are having an impact on the tourism dollars spent at local businesses, which have offered to use their own money to fund its reopening. One company that operates nearby lodges pledged $25,000, according to Fox News. The city council of Tusayan, which is near the park, announced that it would devote $200,000 to reopen it, but the NPS said the park had to remained closed.

Arizona’s House speaker called the rejection “ridiculous.” “Why wouldn’t the federal government let local communities or states assist in keeping some of these things open?” said state representative Andy Tobin.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, Governor Dennis Daugaard made a similar proposal for Mount Rushmore National Memorial. He offered to use only state employees to operate the park, but was turned down because it is a federal entity.