‘We’ll find the money’: Utah leaders working to keep national parks open during potential government shutdown

Sep 23, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:10 am

SALT LAKE CITY -- With just a week until a potential government shutdown, Utah leaders are saying U...

White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. (Ravell Call)

(Ravell Call)

SALT LAKE CITY — With just a week until a potential government shutdown, Utah leaders are saying Utah’s national parks will remain open without federal funding. 

Gov. Spencer Cox said that when there was a national shutdown in 2013, state leaders cut a deal with the federal government that kept the gates open.

“Utah funded that to about a million dollars over those 35 days,” he explained. “We never did get reimbursed for that, Congress was supposed to do that and never did, so those are the kind of partners that we are dealing with.”  

Utah Sen. President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, told KSL NewsRadio that they are working again to make sure that parks stay open if a shutdown were to occur.

‘We’ll find that money’

Finding funding for the parks is a daunting task. Especially in Utah, Adams noted, where they’re cutting taxes and putting money away to balance the budget. However, he said they’ll find a way to do it. 

“We’ll find that money,” he said, “Move appropriations around, try to move spending priorities, because this, this has to be a priority for us.”

Gov. Cox said they don’t believe they will need to call a special legislative session to unleash more money.

“We think we have enough right now that we can do that,” he said. “And then we can adjust the budget next year.”

Adams said that during the last shutdown, they worked with the Department of the Interior. They hope to do the same this time around. 

“They’re the ones that have control of it,” he said. 

Adams said in order to keep the parks running, it would take a combination of the state stepping in and instituting their own paid employees and appropriating current federal staff as well.  

“Hopefully with that cooperation, we’re able to get the best result.”

Communities rely on national parks to stay open during a government shutdown

Though Labor Day has passed and summer is over, these national parks are as busy as ever. In fact, Adams said some parks reach their peak once temperatures start to cool down. 

“If the tourism stopped, you probably destroy the budget for the entire county, because that’s what they rely on.” 

“This is a big deal for Utah,” Adams continued. “It’s a big deal for our nation.”


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Outdoors + Recreation

Lehi City is starting a new winter tradition and has converted a baseball field into a temporary ic...

Eric Cabrera

Lehi City builds temporary ice rink at Sports Complex

Lehi City is starting a new winter tradition and has converted a baseball field into a temporary ice rink. It will be open until Jan. 26.

1 day ago

A woman pushes a stroller on the sidewalk near the Christmas Lights at The Church of Jesus Christ o...


Where will Temple Square Christmas lights be located this year?

The lights will be turned on from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. every evening and from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. every morning between through New Year's Day.

3 days ago

Fresh snow falls on skiers at Alta Ski Area on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021....

Mariah Maynes

Alta Ski Area to open November 25, but recommends skiing for “experts only”

Alta Ski Area announced that it will open for the 2023/24 season on Saturday, November 25.

6 days ago

A bus rider waits to enter the Utah Transit Authority TRAX line at the Alta Ski Resort on Sunday, ...

Amie Schaeffer

UTA’s Ski Bus service starts this weekend for Salt Lake County

Skiers and snowboarders in Salt Lake County will have access up Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons on the Ski Bus starting this Sunday.

6 days ago

Skiers make their way down the slopes at Deer Valley Ski Resort, utah ski passes can get you more b...

Tim Hughes

Are Utah ski passes the most cost-effective way to recreate this winter?

With rising costs for snow sports in Utah, ski passes can help recreators get more bang for you

8 days ago

skiers on a snowy mountain...


Skiers, snowboarders thankful for fresh powder before Thanksgiving

PARK CITY — This weekend’s winter storm improved skiing and snowboarding conditions at some Utah resorts. Park City Mountain got 2 inches of snow overnight and expected 3 to 8 more on Sunday. The resort opened Friday, Nov. 17. The snowfall was welcomed by skiers and snowboarders on the slopes. “This is just the beginning,” said […]

8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

‘We’ll find the money’: Utah leaders working to keep national parks open during potential government shutdown