NM not offering aid to reopen federal parks

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 Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration isn’t considering offering state money to try to reopen popular tourism stops in the national park system closed because of the federal government shutdown.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Monument and Bandelier National Monument are among the tourist destinations in New Mexico that are part of the national park system.

Martinez spokesman Enrique Knell said in a statement that national parks are a federal responsibility and the failure “to perform even basic functions like funding government operations is a sign of the terrible dysfunction and inability to work together in Washington.”

Knell reiterated Friday that Martinez has not changed her stance on this issue.

Federal officials have turned down offers from the governors of South Dakota and Arizona for state assistance to operate Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon.

Colorado’s governor has struck a deal with federal officials to reopen one of its national parks, becoming the second state to accept an offer to send money to the federal government to save lucrative tourist seasons.

Federal officials announced Friday that Colorado has agreed to pay about $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park through Oct. 20.

The Obama administration on Thursday announced it would allow states to foot the bill for reopening parks.

Utah was the first taker, with Gov. Gary Herbert wiring $1.67 million to federal officials to temporarily reopen five national parks and other national park units by Saturday.

Monitor, Staff, Wire Report