Gary Herbert and Utah’s solution to park shutdowns

The Delicate Arch, a natural arch near Moab, Utah

The Delicate Arch, a natural arch near Moab, Utah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine you are a seasonal business owner, relying on 4 months of business to keep you, your family and your employees afloat for the entire year. Now imagine an outside organization decided to cripple you, hoping to score political points.  You weren’t asked for your opinion nor given an opportunity to have input into the political machinations designed to cause maximum pain.  But, one thing is certain – you WILL feel the very real effects right where it hurts.

That unhappy scenario IS what happened to many small businesses in Utah reliant on tourism dollars when the feds decided to close national parks. (Because seriously, they are less essential than studying shrimp on treadmills, right???)  And by the way – some Utah counties are now almost exlusively relying on tourism because the feds won’t let them access their natural resources in any other way. Nice, huh?  Devastate a local economy, tell them to buck up and rely on tourism, then shut and lock the gates.

Nine rural Utah counties declared a fiscal state of emergency.  Words like “devastating” and “blood-letting” were used to describe the economic impact. As reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, Ally Isom, Governor Herbert’s spokeswoman said: “We understand these local communities are hemorrhaging economically and that is our primary motivation, to restore our tourism infrastructure to being fully operational. That includes the national parks, because we do understand there are people at the local level that are suffering because of Washington, D.C.’s, inability to find a solution.”

Fed up with the lack of leadership from the shut-down federal government and understanding the very real impact of closed national parks to the Utah business owners and their families, Governor Gary Herbert rolled up his sleeves and went to work. Within 24 hours, he had a deal worked out, money wired to the feds, and the parks re-opened.

I recognize the irony of loaning the  federal government money to operate parks located where you live, but I also appreciate ACTION rather than standing around wringing one’s hands and lamenting that this just should not be.  The federal government is broken and how to fix it is a discussion for another day. Governor Herbert and other state leaders stepped up to deal with the very real issues facing very real families. Kudos to them.

In related news, dog poop is now more popular than Congress……..


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  1. It is interesting how all of the conservative bloggers along with Governor Herbert himself are absolutely silent about the role of Utah’s right wing members of Congress in shutting down the government, hurting tens of thousands of families, and costing the nation billions in unnecessary added expense. That, of course, includes Jim Matheson who should just stop the charade and change parties.

  2. Bill Keshlear says:

    About fixin’ that darn federal government:

    First things first: Part of the solution begins with us.

    The delegation Utahns sent to Congress helped to create and sustain a partisan, divisive, radical brand of politics. Republicans strategically created the current mess out of thin air, and other Republicans, such as Gov. Herbert and Utah county commissioners, are left to deal with the consequences.

    We can expect the current “crisis” to be the new normal unless Republicans across the country, including Utah, put candidates on the ballots who would rather solve problems using the tools of government rather than trying to dismantle government.

  3. Ronald D. Hunt says:

    Those parks have a lot of costs beyond just the front gates, security, sewage removal, trash removal, emergency services, search and rescue, animal safety(keeping people away from bears and mountain lions and such), inspection of park safety equipment(guard rails and such), road maintenance, dead animal carcass removal from roads.

    Shutting the parks down has nothing todo with political points to be gained by democrats, and has everything todo with real costs, it is significantly cheaper to have a guy watching a closed sign at the entrance, then it is to run the whole of the place.

    You shutdown the government and this is what you get, so put the victimhood card down, and face the nasty stupid political situation your party has rot.

    And while we all wait for reality to set on the deluded people in the house republican caucus, I encourage you to check out Utah’s plan options available on the exchanges,

    and within a few weeks time, as the kinks are worked out of horrid launch, more and more people will realize just how stupid the reason for this shutdown is.

  4. Senator Mike Lee and Reps. Bishop, Chaffetz and Stewart all voted to keep the federal government shut down, AND to crash the global economy and cause another recession/depression. This was utterly irresponsible and reckless. None of them deserve re-election. Rep. Matheson ought to apologize for his vote to shut down the government, although did vote to end the shutdown when Speaker Boehner finally decided to allow a vote.

    As Senate minority leader McConnell said, there is no education in the second kick of a mule. Because of the 1995-96 experience, everybody ought to have known that a federal government shutdown would close the national parks, as well as Forest Service, BLM, and Fish & Wildlife Service offices. The work of managing our public lands was interrupted nationwide.

    Gov. Herbert responded to an economic hit caused by Republican nihilism, however he did so by taking money from Utah state parks. It was a donation to the National Park Service, not a loan. Until Congress passes a special appropriation, there is no way Utah taxpayers will be paid back.

  5. I muse once again why our conservative blogger who generally has a lot to say is silent on the topic of what her ilk are doing in Washington.


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