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Rocky Mountain National Park Reopened

By: AP/KCNC
By: AP/KCNC

Governor John Hickenlooper announced Friday that Rocky Mountain National Park will reopened Saturday.

Trail Ridge Road will open as soon as the highway can be plowed.

It will cost more than $40,000.00 a day to pay employees to operate the park. The governor says they'll keep it open until the shutdown is over.

The state will use money from the Colorado tourism office to operate the park.

Once the shutdown is over, the state may seek reimbursement from the government. However, according to our sister station in Denver, the federal government has already said it will not reimburse the state for the expense of re-opening the park.

Estes Park leaders say the move will help the town recover from last month's flooding. Once Trail Ridge is reopened, it will also provide a second access road to the town.

“This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in Colorado during this shutdown,” said Secretary Sally Jewell. “We want to re-open all of our national parks as quickly possible for everyone to enjoy and call on Congress to pass a clean continuing resolution to open the government.”

According to our sister station in Denver, almost 3 million people visit the park every year. Many of them come at this time of year to view the changing leaves.

Between the shutdown and last month's flooding, the nearby town of Estes Park is especially suffering because it relies heavily on tourism.

Colorado is the second state to accept an offer to send money to the federal government to save lucrative tourists seasons.

Utah was the first taker. They paid $1.67 million to the federal government to temporarily re-open five national parks.

Arizona also struck a deal to re-open the Grand Canyon today. The state is reportedly paying $651,000 to keep the park open for seven days.

South Dakota and New York have also agreed to foot the bill in order to open national parks in those states.


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