News / USA

Some US National Parks Re-Open With Funding From States

Some US National Parks Re-Open With Funding From Statesi
X
October 14, 2013 9:01 PM
Some of America's best-known national parks have re-opened after being forced to close for almost two weeks due to the shutdown of the U.S. federal government. As VOA's Michael Lipin explains, several state governments decided they are better off funding the parks themselves than leaving them closed.
Some of America's best-known national parks have re-opened after being forced to close for almost two weeks due to the shutdown of the U.S. federal government. Several state governments decided they are better off funding the parks themselves than leaving them closed.

The Statue of Liberty was back in business on Sunday after a 12-day closure. Tourists, who feared they might miss the New York icon, were thrilled.

They flocked to Battery Park to catch the ferry to Liberty Island.

"We didn't think we were going to be able to go, so this is beyond anything that we had expected," said a Canadian tourist.

The Statue of Liberty is one of about 400 national monuments and parks that closed on October 1.

That is when disputes over the federal budget prompted a partial shutdown of federal agencies, including the National Park Service.

New York State said the shutdown was costing New York City millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue.

So, it agreed to pay the National Park Service $370,000 to open the statue to visitors from Sunday to Thursday.

Three other states have made similar deals with the federal government.

Arizona officials decided to spend $93,000 a day to let visitors back into the Grand Canyon.

Governor Jan Brewer said the site is worth it.

"This brings an enormous amount of revenue to the economy, to the state of Arizona, and to our tax coffers.  So it was the right thing to do. And when we run out of seven days, we'll have to reassess, but we are committed," said Brewer.

About two-thirds of the funds to re-open the Canyon were donated by the nearby town of Tusayan. Mayor Greg Bryan said the closure hurt local business.  

"We estimate that well over a million dollars in the first week alone was lost, in terms of revenues coming into the community and into the Park Service with regard to their gate fees, as well as the revenues from the concessionaires up here. So in 11 days, we're talking millions of dollars, " said Bryan.

Elsewhere, South Dakota is paying $152,000 to re-open Mount Rushmore for 10 days, starting Monday.

The cliff bearing the faces of four American presidents draws almost three million visitors a year.

And Utah opened up eight of its national sites on Friday for a 10-day period, at a cost of $1.6 million.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives has approved several bills to fund parts of the government including national parks.

But the Democratic-led Senate and the White House oppose partial measures, saying the House should agree to open the entire government at once.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Video Kenyans Lament Al-Shabab's Recruitment of Youths

VOA travels to Isiolo, where residents share their fears, struggles to get loved ones back from Somalia-based militant group More

This US Epidemic Keeps Getting Worse

One in 4 Americans suffers from this condition More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensionsi
X
May 26, 2015 11:11 PM
When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs