Barricades begin to come down at Utah National Parks, monuments

Posted at 10:47 AM, Oct 11, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-11 16:36:38-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Some of Utah’s National Monuments and National Parks began to reopen to visitors Friday, and more are scheduled to reopen throughout the weekend.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced the contracts have been signed and the funds have been wired to reopen the attractions, which have been closed since October 1 due to the government shutdown.

Under the terms of the agreement, Utah donated funds to the National Park Service for the sole purpose of enabling National Park Service employees to re-open and manage Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Zion National Park.

The agreement funds Utah’s eight national parks for a period of 10 days, running from Friday, October 11 through Sunday, October 20 at the donated amount of $1,665,720.80.

Natural Bridges National Monument was expected to reopen by 10:40 a.m.

Gov. Herbert offered updates on park and monument openings via his Twitter account.

He said Arches National Park would open its gates Friday at 5:30 p.m., and he said the park would be 100 percent open by 8 a.m. Saturday.

He said Canyonlands National Park is scheduled to open at 8 a.m. Saturday, and he said the barricades were being removed Friday afternoon.

Herbert said in a tweet that visitors to Canyonlands and Arches should be aware of weather-related issues. He also said some roads may be impassable due to weather damage, but he said they would “be repaired ASAP.”

Lake Powell was scheduled to open partially at 1 p.m. Friday, and it was expected to be fully operational by 8 a.m. Saturday.

Herbert also said that campsite reservations for the parks dating Oct. 12, 2013 and onward would be honored.

Rainbow Bridge National Monument will also open because “it rests in Glen Canyon Natl. Rec Area, under the same budget and management,” Herbert said via twitter.
The tunnels and South Campground at Zion National Park are expected to open at noon Friday, and the attraction is expected to be fully open by Saturday, Herbert said.

According to a website maintained by the Garfield County Office of Tourism, Bryce Canyon is expected to open at 3 p.m. Friday.

Watch FOX 13 News and for updates.

Video: Governor Herbert came to the FOX 13 Studio Friday morning to talk about the deal he struck to reopen the National Parks and Monuments