Environews: Flashback, 2013: Utah without national parks

By Amy Brunvand

Environmental news from around the state and the West.
by Amy Brunvand

Remember October 2013? U.S. Congressional Republicans failed to pass a budget and shut down the federal government for 16 days.

While Senators Ted Cruz (yes, that Ted Cruz) and Mike Lee (R-UT) staged an embarrassing fake filibuster, Utah’s “Mighty Five” national parks closed and Utah’s tourism industry tanked. The State of Utah chipped in nearly a million dollars to keep nine of our 12 national treasures open for six days.

Even though Utah’s own Senator Lee took credit for orchestrating the government shutdown, in 2016 Utah legislators passed H.C.R. 11 demanding repayment from the federal government.

In further irony, H.C.R. 11 was sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan), former president of the American Land Council (ALC), a Koch Brothers-supported organization which is leading the effort to privatize federal public lands.

We wish this would be required viewing so our legislators could vote more knowledgeably—Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which recently concluded on KUED-Ch. 7. Watch clips and videos and learn more about the series: www.pbs.org/nationalparks/

Protecting Bears Ears is not just about healing for the land and Native people. It’s for our adversaries to be healed, too. I truly believe we can all come out dancing together.

– Willie Grayeyes, Chairman, Utah Dine Bikeyah


This article was originally published on May 2, 2016.