WASHINGTON — Under pressure from governors, the Obama administration said Thursday it will allow some shuttered national parks to reopen — as long as states use their own money to pay for park operations.
Governors in at least four states asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures.
All 401 national park units — including such icons as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite and Zion national parks — have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees were furloughed, and lawmakers from both parties complained that park closures wreaked havoc on nearby communities that depend on tourism.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the government will consider offers to use state money to resume park operations, but will not surrender control of national parks or monuments to the states.
Jewell called on Congress to act swiftly to end the government shutdown so all parks can reopen.