State officials have been granted permission to reopen three iconic national parks—the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, and Mt. Rushmore—which began allowing visitors this past weekend and Monday. The Statue of Liberty and Grand Canyon opened on Saturday, while Mt. Rushmore began allowing visitors in on Monday.
The openings were a policy reversal for the Obama administration, which previously refused to allow states the ability to reopen national parks with alternative sources of revenue.
As of now, states are still required to pay for the parks as President Obama has yet to sign any funding bills passed by the House to reopen the public lands. However, states are still hoping that reopening the parks, even at the states’ expense, will be a net economic gain because of the increase in tourism revenue and general economic activity.
“While this deal will buy us some time and bring back lost revenue to the state, I would hope our elected officials in Washington move urgently to negotiate an immediate end to this government standstill,” Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona said in a statement released Friday.
The government is now entering its second week of partial shutdown, which began on October 1.