Interior Sec. Jewell Considers Letting States Reopen Some National Parks

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is considering agreements with Governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to re-open national parks in their states.

“The Interior Department will begin conversations about how to proceed as expeditiously as current limited resources allow,” reads a statement issued by the Department of Interior Thursday. “We continue to call on Congress to act swiftly to enact appropriations for the entire government so that we can re-open all 401 national parks for the American people.”

The Department of Interior was forced to close all national parks across the country last week and furlough more than 20,000 National Park Service employees who ensure the safety of visitors and the security of the resources.

Conservation organizations welcome the initiative but urged Congress and the Administration to come up with a long-term fix.

“The National Parks Conservation Association welcomes the Department of the Interior’s efforts to lessen the hardship of the government shutdown on local national park communities. However, this makeshift approach is not a permanent solution,” said Theresa Pierno, action president of the NCPA. “National parks are treasured by Americans nationwide; they not only protect our national heritage, but they are important to local economies, and Congress and the Administration have a responsibility to keep them open and adequately funded.”