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Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Services to resume at Utah's national parks despite government shutdown

By Cara MacDonald, | Posted - Jan. 6, 2019 at 3:00 p.m.

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WASHINGTON — Rep. Rob Bishop delivered a letter earlier this week to the acting Secretary of the Interior requesting they take “emergency measures to resume operations” at National Parks in Utah.

Acting Secretary David Bernhardt approved the request Sunday morning, stating that services will resume to national parks within a few days.

Bishop’s letter was also signed by Utah Reps. Chris Stewart and John Curtis, who both represent congressional districts in which there are national parks. Bishop requested that appropriate action be taken so that park officials could maintain cleanliness and perform rescue operations as needed if any individuals were injured in the park during the shutdown.

Bernhardt was already in the process of responding to the issue and quickly got a modified plan approved by the Office of Management and Budget, Bishop said in a statement.

“The directive provides for the use of recreation fee funds, where available, to clean up and maintain restrooms and sanitation, trash collection, road maintenance — which includes plowing, campground operations, law enforcement and emergency operations, and staff entrance gates as necessary,” Bernhardt said in his letter.

He added that the changes should go into effect in a few days, with bigger parks like Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks being addressed first.

Following his receipt of the Department of the interior’s letter, Bishop said in a statement that he was "immensely grateful to the administration for the decision to restore services at our national parks in the midst of this shutdown."

"Oftentimes, grandstanding and theater can distract us from the important governmental task of providing safety and security," Bishop added. "This decision will enhance safety and add protections to all those who choose to recreate in Utah’s parks.”

To read the full memo by Bernhardt, click here.

Cara MacDonald

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