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Bullock: Montana won’t pay to open national parks

2013-10-11T00:00:00Z Bullock: Montana won’t pay to open national parksIR State Bureau Helena Independent Record
October 11, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday said he has no interest in allowing national parks in Montana to be reopened if the state has to pick up the costs until the federal shutdown ends.

“Of course not,” said Bullock, a Democrat. “When I say that it’s long past time to open up the government and end this reckless and job-killing shutdown, I mean the entire government — benefits for the families of service members killed in combat, ‘open’ signs at Social Security offices and resumed use of our national parks.”

Earlier Thursday, the Obama administration, facing requests from some governors, said national parks could reopen — if states use their own funds to cover park operations. Governors of Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota and Utah have sought federal authority reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impact of the closures, the Associated Press reported.

In communities west and east of Glacier National Park, many motels and lodges already were closed for the fall anyway.

Kevin Gartland, executive director of the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce, said the organization doesn’t have an official position on the issue.

“If this was July or August, we’d be up in arms,” Gartland said. “We’d be doing whatever we could with the governor to keep the tourism going. It’s a vital part of the economy for the entire state.”

It’s not as critical now, Gartland said.

Greg Raymond, one of the golf pros at Meadow Lake Resort in Columbia Falls, said the park shutdown hasn’t really affected the resort, which is a golf course.

Attempts were unsuccessful to reach a number of owners of motels and lodges in West Glacier and East Glacier. Voice messages from some said their establishments were closed for the season.

Later Thursday, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines, R-Mont., said he planned to introduce legislation to ensure that states are fully reimbursed within 90 days for any state funds spent to pay for National Park operations.

He cited the economic importance of the national parks and tourism to many Montana communities and those in other states.

“Glacier and Yellowstone national parks not only represent an important part of Montana’s heritage, they are important drivers of our state’s economy,” Daines said.

“While I’m pleased that the Obama administration has finally relented and allowed individual states to get our national parks open again, it’s unacceptable that a state like Montana could be forced to bear even more of a financial burden because of Washington’s failures. My legislation will protect states and ensure they receive full compensation for their work to reopen our national park gates.”

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(10) Comments

  1. enjoybikes
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    enjoybikes - October 12, 2013 9:28 am
    Dainess acts like he's breaking his neck to open parks... Open the government fool... Tell your boys to get heads out of posteriori and open the government fools.
  2. JVH77
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    JVH77 - October 11, 2013 3:43 pm
    If Congress doesn't have any power to open or close anything then what are all these individual funding bills being floated around for? It seems to me not only do they have the power to open and close things, they have the power to open and close everything. When you start questioning the intelligence of others you should probably be a little more confident of your own information.

    The phrase "common sense" generally isn't used in reference to legislative procedure or Executive powers anyway given the percentage of the population who can even name their own Congressperson is extremely low.
  3. sledmike
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    sledmike - October 11, 2013 11:46 am
    I dont find the Supreme Court to always being the designator of all that is 'just and true'. The right does not like the decision on Obamacare.....the left was equally disturbed by "Citizens United". I quite imagine that many African-Americans had a bone or two to pick with the Supreme Court over "Dred Scott". Just because Supreme Court rulings "say so" does not infer ultimate divinity to a plan, process or program. If the people disagree strongly with the Republicans, it will bear itself out during the next election. Equally, if the polls are accurate and the people are not in favor of Obamacare as written, the election process will clear the air. As much as some may not like it.....this is part of the process in a republic. Change will be the one constant......
  4. Bruin97
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    Bruin97 - October 11, 2013 11:16 am
    The Office of Management and Budget determines how appropriated money is spent. That office is in the White House? The House Speaker or congress doesn’t have any power to open or close anything during a shut down. What is open or closed is determined by the executive branch. It is true that common sense isn’t that common anymore.
  5. skooter
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    skooter - October 11, 2013 10:16 am
    that's fine for you and your purposes but they are talking about tourism dollars not (assuming) backwoods dude dollars. And the fact is that there are dummies who will get hurt somehow (usually by their own actions) and then what? When people run off those roads that don't need service do we just let the bodies stay with the vehicles until the shutdown is over. Extreme example - but exactly why they are either closed or open...or marked as unmaintained.

    This "I got mine and to heck with everyone else" attitude to everything only goes so far...there are a million families not getting paychecks, people working with out pay, cancer patients not getting trial meds, food not getting inspected, etc...but at the the Congressional gym is open, and staffers (by republican request) haven't lost their health care.
  6. skooter
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    skooter - October 11, 2013 10:10 am
    and they don't want to take on the cost...
  7. remybon
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    remybon - October 11, 2013 9:17 am
    I believe it would cost the state at least $50,000 a day to open one park, that was the estimate on some of the parks in Utah. I think our state would burn through our budget surplus pretty quickly, since it seems like this shutdown might go on for a while. Plus even if the state was to fund some of the federal programs it seems like there are others in need more than the recreational areas of government, even those are the funnest and bring in tourism money for other businesses. Remember who is holding the government hostage in this situation and write to congress to end this. Trying to repeal laws that have been in place through multiple election cycles and have stood up to supreme court rulings is not a smart political move.
  8. JVH77
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    JVH77 - October 11, 2013 9:05 am
    The answer is contained in your question: because they are NATIONAL parks.
  9. 41-killroy
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    41-killroy - October 11, 2013 7:35 am
    Saw an article the other day, the picture was perfect. The barricades were down and the signs were tossed aside. When I go I don't want to see an employee anyway. I am sure that the roads are good and will last a couple of years without being provided "services". Besides how can anyone be given a ticket for trespassing when the park is the Public's?
  10. otis mule
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    otis mule - October 11, 2013 6:52 am
    Of course not. He wouldn't dream of stepping on the plan

    In all good honesty though, why couldn't the States take over the management of the National Parks within their boundaries?

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