How much longer can the state keep national parks open?

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In this Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, photo visitors to Great Smoky Mountain National Park drive through the park but facilities like the Sugarlands and Cades Cove visitor centers in Townsend, Tenn. Nonprofits, businesses and state governments nationwide are putting up money and volunteer hours in a battle to keep national parks safe and clean for […]

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah National Parks only have enough money to keep visitor centers open until the end of January.

A month after the partial government shutdown began, the State of Utah said it is still working on a long-term strategy to deal with the local consequences of the shutdown, should it go on for several months.

Monday, the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget gave an update on what it’s doing in the meantime to keep Utah’s National Parks up and running. So far, the update said, the state has spent $66,000 of the $80,000 it has authorized for parks.

According to The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget:

  • With help from the state and local organizations, Zion National Park’s visitor’s center is set to remain open through Jan. 30, 2019.  

  • The Bryce Canyon Natural History Association plans to support operations at Bryce Canyon visitor center through Jan. 30.

  • Canyonlands Natural History Association paid for the visitor centers at Arches and visitor centers at the Island in the Sky District in Canyonlands to stay open through Jan. 30.

  • And The Capitol Reef Fruita campground is open, but restrooms are closed except for the vault toilet. The scenic drive is also closed.

As of Monday, the office said of the shutdown, “no other significant fiscal or operational impacts are anticipated through the end of February,” aside from the impact on national park access and services.

Come March, funding will dry up for some federal programs, including the program that provides food for Utah families that may otherwise go without. Before the shutdown, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was funded through February 2019, and the state has already distributed all of those February funds. Local organizations urged SNAP recipients to pace themselves because once that assistance is gone, there might not be more for some time.

The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget said it will reveal the state’s long-term plan for the shutdown on Jan. 28, 2019 if lawmakers and the president haven’t reached a deal to re-open the federal government by then. 

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