SALT LAKE CITY — Utah shelled out a fraction of what it did in 2013 to keep the state's national parks open during the latest federal government shutdown.
The state spent $66,000 to keep national park services running during the 35-day partial shutdown that ended last Friday, according to the Governor's Office of Management and Budget. The state had agreed to spend up to $80,000.
The Utah Department of Transportation plowed snow-covered roads in Arches and Canyonlands national parks on Jan. 15 and Jan. 22 at a total cost of $3,500.
Outside of that $69,500, Utah did not incur any other "hard" costs, according to the budget office.
In 2013, Utah sent about about $1.67 million in state reserve money to reopen five national parks and three other sites for 10 days. The shutdown ended six days later, and the federal government repaid Utah about $666,000 in unused funds, but has yet reimburse the state for the remaining $1 million.
During the most recent shutdown, the state's money was combined with private donations to keep Zion, Bryce Canyon and Arches — the state's three most popular national parks — open to visitors.
The Zion National Park Forever Project, the Canyonlands Natural History Association and the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association provided donations to help keep the parks open throughout the month.6 comments on this story
Last Thursday, a day before the shutdown ended, Salt Lake-based Alsco Inc., a international linen and uniform rental company, donated $100,000 to be split among those three nonprofit organizations to fund the parks through Presidents Day. That money could now be used for other projects.
In the days before the shutdown ended, state officials were working on a long-range plan had the federal impasse persisted, including dipping into the state's $820 million Rainy Day Fund.
President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed to re-open government for three weeks while they work on a permanent spending bill and a deal on border security. The White House has not ruled out the possibility of another shutdown if an agreement isn't reached by the Feb. 15 deadline.