Utah partially refunded for National Parks reopening

Visitors to Zion National Park take in the sights after the park opened on a limited basis Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 near Springdale, Utah.

Utah has been partially repaid for the money sent to the federal government to reopen the state’s national parks.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s office says about $666,000 was returned to the state Thursday.

After the federal government partially shut down earlier this month, Utah was among the states that paid to reopen their national parks.

Herbert authorized sending about $1.67 million to reopen Utah’s five national parks and three other sites for 10 days.

The federal government reopened four days before that period ended, which entitled Utah to a partial refund.

During his statewide Let Me Speak to the Governor radio show Thursday that aired on KVNU, Herbert said he’s confident the state will eventually be repaid for the $1 million that was used.

When asked if the closure affected Utah more than other states, his answer was, “it’s regional.”

“I worked with the Department of the Interior on this issue,” Herbert said. “They at least recognize that in Southern Utah, where we have five national parks, the impact of that closing has a much more dramatic affect than closing of the Arch in St. Louis or closing some museum in North Carolina. The impact for that region is not always the same.”

Herbert said he is confident the state will eventually be repaid but Congress would have to approve a full repayment.

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