Bill would reimburse state for Rocky Mountain National Park shutdown
January 13, 2015
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, D-Colo., joined Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) to introduce a bill to reimburse states that provided funds to temporarily reopen national parks during the 2013 government shutdown.
The National Park Access Act is also sponsored by Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and John Thune (R-S.D.).
"When Congress couldn't get its job done, Colorado stepped up to keep Rocky Mountain National Park open at a critical time," Bennet said. "Not only was it one of the park's peak seasons for visitors hoping to see Colorado's golden Aspen trees, but nearby communities like Estes Park were already reeling from the floods that had devastated homes and businesses. Keeping the park open was crucial for small businesses that rely on the park's visitors. It's time for the federal government to keep its promise to pay Colorado back."
During the government shutdown in October 2013, six states – Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah – advanced $2 million to the National Park Service to temporarily reopen iconic national parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty.
“Keeping the park open was crucial for small businesses that rely on the park’s visitors. It’s time for the federal government to keep its promise to pay Colorado back.”
U.S. Senator from Colorado
Following the shutdown, Congress retroactively funded the Park Service, which has since retained the $2 million state contribution as a shutdown windfall, according to a prepared statement released by Bennet's office.