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Maryland Chooses Against Paying To Reopen Shuttered National Parks

The Assateague Island National Seashore and other national parks in Maryland will remain closed as the state opts against paying to reopen them during the federal government shutdown.
WAMU/Bryan Russo
The Assateague Island National Seashore and other national parks in Maryland will remain closed as the state opts against paying to reopen them during the federal government shutdown.

Despite the federal government shutdown, the Obama Administration says it allow national parks and historical sites to reopen if individual states pay for the costs. But while many states are jumping at that chance, Maryland will not be one of them.

Why would a state like Arizona pay more than $90,000 a day to reopen the Grand Canyon, especially when the Department of the Interior blatantly said it has no intention of paying states back when the federal government shutdown ends?

Well, think of it this way—the Grand Canyon attracts about 18,000 on average and pumps about a million bucks into the local economy per day. So for Arizona and even a state like New York, which is paying about $60,000 a day to keep the Statue of Liberty open, dipping into your reserve funds so you can keep some revenue flowing during a government shutdown makes sense.

Maryland, on the other hand, is opting against this strategy as officials from the state Department of the Environment said they will not be reopening national parks like Assateague Island or national historic sites until the shutdown ends.

And while much of this decision is based on financial concerns, the fact that it’s fall and not summer certainly plays a significant role in the decision, especially in the case of Assateague Island National Seashore.

But MDE officials say they believe there are more than enough options for Marylanders to enjoy while the government is closed, pointing to the 66 state run parks that are open for business, shutdown or no shutdown.

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