Utah taxpayers will lend the federal government $1.7 million to reopen five national parks for 10 days under a deal signed by Gov. Gary Hebert. The Utah Legislature, which will meet in special session Wednesday, can approve funds to keep the areas open beyond that time.
The national parks have been closed by the government shutdown over efforts in the U.S. House to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed three years ago.
More than $3.4 million in visitor spending has been lost since the Oct. 1 closure of Zion National Park, according to the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.
The park's closure due to the federal government shutdown has threatened more than 2,401 jobs, including 2,136 local jobs not affiliated with the National Park Service, the coalition said.
The group of retirees reported losses for Zion and other parks across the country for the first 10 days of the shutdown based on visitation numbers from Oct. 12, 2012.
Other major impacts in lost dollars include: $11.7 million at Grand Canyon National Park, $5.2 million at Acadia National Park, and $23.1 million at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said the state would not pay to reopen Glacier National Park, while Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said the same about Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. However, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she would consider paying for a partial reopening of Grand Canyon National Park.