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Several Utah Counties plan on opening up National Parks on their own

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Local governments are fed up with the federal shutdown and some appear to be taking the law into their own hands. Several southern Utah counties are planning on opening up the now closed national parks on their own.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Local governments are fed up with the federal shutdown and some appear to be taking the law into their own hands. Several southern Utah counties are planning on opening up the now closed national parks on their own.

October is one of the biggest tourism months for southern Utah and they say they just can't wait any longer. They're getting some support from Utah’s Governor, but with or without him, they plan on removing the barricades at 8 o’clock Thursday morning.

They're our state treasures, the Mighty Five - Arches, Bryce, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef and Zion national parks, but since the government has been shut down the parks have been shuttered and the local economies left in the lurch.

"Their livelihood, a big percentage of it, happens in October,” said Governor Gary Herbert. “This is a great time to visit southern Utah, as we all know there here in Utah, so we can't wait till November rolls around say ‘well, we'll make it up to you.’ There's no making it up."

Governor Herbert is calling on President Obama, sending a letter yesterday where he offered to use state funds to get the parks back open.

Governor Herbert said, "Hey we know there is {dysfunctionality} in Washington D.C. let us run the parks let us open at least in a partial way. We'll have the manpower; we'll have the resources to open up some of our parks to help the economy of these rural parts of Utah that are hurting so much."

Officials in San Juan County aren't waiting on word from Washington; they're planning on opening up Canyonlands, Natural Bridges and Hovenweep national monuments on their own.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman told ABC 4 Utah, “What it boils down to is removing the barricades and putting law enforcement, our own law enforcement, to help direct traffic and monitor activity in the park or monument."

Washington County officials also confirmed they plan on opening up Zion National Park at 8 o'clock Thursday morning. All the officials say they have the governor's blessing but on camera Herbert backed away from the idea of a national park takeover.

Governor Herbert said, "I don't know the plan to just go do it, again we are law abiding people here in Utah and I expect people to abide by the laws that are constitutional."

Stay with ABC 4 Utah tomorrow morning when we’re there at Zion National Park when the barricades come down and the public is allowed back in.
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