As for the costs, Utah devoted nearly $1.7 million to run eight federal parks for 10 days, Arizona opened the Grand Canyon at a price of $651,000 for seven days, and Colorado, New York and South Dakota spent a combined $884,000 to reopen landmark destinations for various lengths of time. The states will automatically recover a portion of the money because the shutdown ended before their funding was exhausted. Arizona, for example, will receive $186,000, since the partial government closure stopped five days after reopening the Grand Canyon. But the states are still on the hook for most of the reopening costs, and few want to lose the funds altogether while still recovering from the economic downturn.
“We’re still in a precarious financial situation, and we can’t afford to be paying the federal government’s bills permanently,” said Andrew Wilder, a spokesman for Arizona Gov. Janice Brewer. “Everything we take in is accounted for, so we don’t have pots of dollars lying around that aren’t needed somewhere.” During the past two years, the Grand Canyon attracted an average of about 1.2 million people per day in the month of October, bringing in significant tourism revenue to the state, its businesses and the parks, according to Wilder.
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