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September 29, 2023 11:31 am MST

Gov. Polis Steps In To Save Parks From #GOPShutdown

  • by: Colorado Pols
Thanks for nothing, so say we all.

As the Denver Post’s Seth Klamann reports, Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order yesterday directing state agencies to prepare to help keep Colorado’s national parks operating during the federal government shutdown increasingly certain to begin Sunday morning:

With Republican infighting so far thwarting any congressional budget deal, the federally managed parks in Colorado — Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, the Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde and Rocky Mountain National Park — will close just after midnight on Sunday, Polis wrote. That could happen on a particularly busy weekend for Rocky Mountain during leaf-peeping season.

Polis’ order directs the state’s Department of Natural Resources and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to develop a plan and identify potential funding needs to keep the parks open through a federal shutdown.

CBS4’s Alan Gionet:

“Not only are these parks important for Coloradans to enjoy,” Polis told CBS Colorado, “There’s an enormous cost if they shut down. If we can help staff them, support the staff, make sure they stay open during a shutdown, it’s good for economy, good for jobs and good for outdoor recreation for our residents.”

In days and weeks leading up to the potential shutdown as soon as Sunday, communities like Estes Park worried about what will happen with yet another federal shutdown as Congress fails to reach agreement on the federal budget…

Colorado has stepped in before when national parks have closed due to the lack of a budget agreement. In 2013, the state helped get Rocky Mountain National Park back open. It was already a down year due to flooding in the area. The daily cost to Colorado was about $50,000 in today’s dollars.

Closure of Colorado’s national parks at the height of leaf-peeping season would be disastrous for the many towns and businesses across the state who cater to tourists, and that’s why the state is stepping in as they did in 2013 to essentially front the Interior Department the money to keep the parks open and properly staffed. During the longer 2019 shutdown that took place in the winter, lack of staffing resulted in overflowing toilets at Rocky Mountain National Park–and much worse at parks in warmer climates.

Although the state should be made whole once Congress remembers after some amount of economic suffering that keeping the lights on is one of their most basic responsibilities, putting up hundreds of thousands of state dollars to keep the federal government operating in the state’s national parks is a completely dysfunctional process, all happening because of the refusal of a relatively small faction of far-right Republicans to compromise.

This is why Colorado’s embattled-by-nature Rep. Lauren Boebert is telling two mutually contradictory stories about her own agenda as the shutdown approaches, within the same 24 hours claiming she is “working to prevent a shutdown” while telling seditionist human sweatband Steve Bannon that a shutdown is “necessary” to “get this right.” In Washington, surrounded by Rep. Matt Gaetz and the Freedom Caucus hard-liners, Boebert says one thing, while to stakeholders in her district where three of Colorado’s national parks are located she says the opposite.

All we can say is, thank goodness for the grownups.


8 thoughts on “Gov. Polis Steps In To Save Parks From #GOPShutdown

  1. No Fat Bear Week in Katmai National Park in Alaska if we have the shutdown. My family and I really enjoy following that. Of course, a very minor thing in light of all the shit that will go down, but this shutdown is just another chapter in the book of Why we can't have nice things because of Republicans...

  2. There is one nice side to the shutdown.

    Who has paid a political price for each and every shutdown since 1994?

    ANSWER:  The Grand Old Perverts Party.

      1. Yes. People like Boebert, Gaetz and others from the non-serious burn it all down caucus are either too arrogant to care or too stupid to know the impact their decisions have on ordinary Americans. How on earth anyone with an IQ over 50 would vote for them thinking they would improve anything in Congress is truly beyond me. Fuck them and all of their fake persona performative nonsense.

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