Several counties in southern Utah have declared a state of emergency over the closure of the state’s national parks and monuments. And Utah’s governor is among those demanding action now to get them open again.
Iron County Commissioner Dave Miller says the federal government shutdown is causing economic hardship in southern Utah. If nothing happens in Washington DC to re-open the parks, he says local sheriffs may take action on their own. Miller doesn’t think federal park rangers will stand in the way.
Miller tells KUER, “They’re much more interested in allowing us, in fact they’ll turn over the keys allowing us to come in and open the parks rather than have any kind of standoff. Not that we want to have confrontation, but we are in an emergency state.”
Governor Gary Herbert has sent a letter to President Obama saying the executive branch can re-open the parks on its own authority without waiting for Congress and that the state is ready to help with its own resources. The governor says the state just needs the keys to the gates.