While visitors to Capitol Reef will be able to continue to drive through the park on a state highway that will remain open, barricades to the heart of Zion Canyon are going up Tuesday. Trails will be off limits to visitors at all the parks.
"I hate to use the word devastating, but that's really what it would do to a small community like ours," said Dean Cook, head of the Zion Canyon Visitors Bureau and general manager of the Best Western Zion Park Inn.
The effects of the shutdown will start with employees at motels, restaurants and gift shops being told there's not enough work for them, Cook said, and then trickle down to restaurant suppliers and other business in the region.
Members of Congress, he said, "just want to use other political issues to really dictate what happens to my little community and all the others" around the country. "It really is a serious situation."
Rep. Jim Matheson, Utah's only Democrat in Congress, said greeting foreign visitors with "closed" signs at national parks won't reflect well on the United States.
"I don't think that's a very good way to promote ourselves as a country," he said.
Matheson said he's also concerned about people at Hill Air Force Base and other federal agencies who won't get paychecks during a shutdown.
"If you’re in one of those households that’s a direct and immediate impact, that's pretty significant," he said.
While Utah's Republican congressmen blame Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Obama for a shutdown, Matheson puts it at House Speaker John Boehner's feet.
Boehner, R-Ohio, could have proposed a straight funding bill in the House, which would pass with bipartisan support, Matheson said.
Matheson blamed the shutdown on "partisan bickering over spending."
"The leadership of both parties allowed political games to stand in the way of keeping our government open for business," he said.
Matheson said he voted for two provisions, removing congressional and staff exemptions from Obamacare and delaying implementation of an individual mandate for one year, saying he accepted those provisions because he supported the policies.
"However, my top priority, and where our attention should be focused, is to keep the government operating," he said. "I am disappointed that the leadership of the House of Representatives lost sight of what should have been a straight up or down vote on a funding bill."
The battle began with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, who earlier this year declared he would stop the president's health care law from taking effect by pulling funding for it from the budget bill.
Lee participated last week in a marathon speech pushing that plan by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a fellow member of the tea party caucus. Lee said he felt he was taking a stand against the health care law in his votes Monday.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has joined other members of the GOP in questioning the strategy. Many in the Republican Party fear the effort by Lee and others will cause them to be blamed for the shutdown.
"It's going to hurt everybody," Hatch said of the shutdown. "Where I worry is our national parks and monuments, but most importantly our military. It's going to hurt our military. That's a bad situation."
Still, Hatch said House Republicans are listening to the American people on Obama's health care law. "They're acting responsibly," he said.
Hatch called the shutdown "a dark moment in our nation's history, and Utahns have every right to be disappointed in their government."
Hatch said he doesn't know of one Republican who wants to shut down the government.
"I do know that we're likely to blamed for it even though the Democrats are the ones who are really shutting the government down," he said.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he didn't understand why there's not room for discussion on the House proposals.
"That's not the American way," Chaffetz said.
Contributing: McKenzie Romero
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