State Funding to Reopen Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon

New York’s Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon in Arizona will reopen using state and local funds to resume operations shuttered by a federal shutdown that has included the closing of national parks.

Liberty Island National Park off Manhattan will rely on $61,600 a day in state funds to reopen, Governor Andrew Cuomo said yesterday. Grand Canyon National Park will get $93,000 daily in state and local financing, Governor Jan Brewer said.

Both will be open for the Columbus Day holiday weekend.

“As the shutdown continues, we cannot afford to lose the thousands of visits to the park each day,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement. “So while the dysfunction and gridlock in Washington, D.C., has failed to keep this important state asset open, New York is stepping up to take over this responsibility.”

The federal government shutdown that began Oct. 1 closed national parks and monuments across the country, strangling state tourism business. Direct spending by travelers was $57.3 billion in New York last year and $19.3 billion in Arizona, according to state reports, far exceeding the state costs to temporarily keep their attractions open.

Similar state deals were being worked out to reopen Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Zion National Park in Utah and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Associated Press reported.

“Arizona is doing what it can to keep the Grand Canyon up and running, but we cannot pay the federal government’s tab for long,” Brewer, a Republican, said in a statement.

Rafting Cancellations

The Grand Canyon’s closing devastated small businesses owners that depend on it for their livelihood. Six rafting companies that had to cancel trips were expected to lose almost $1 million in the final few weeks of the 2013 rafting season, said John Dillon, executive director of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association in Flagstaff.

Hotels in Tusayan, the three-year-old town at the park’s South Rim entrance, have been close to empty; ordinarily, they would be almost full at this time of year. Some residents protested the Grand Canyon’s closure, and city leaders voted last week to help pay to reopen the park if they could.

-- With assistance from Amanda Crawford in Phoenix. Editors: Pete Young, Don Frederick

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