Rep. Gosar Leads the Fight to Open Arizona Parks

For Immediate Release
October 11, 2013

 

Contact: Apryl Marie Fogel
AprylMarie.Fogel@mail.house.gov

Rep. Gosar Leads the Fight to Open Arizona Parks  

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Over the last week, Congressman Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) led the fight to open the national lands and parks in Arizona for residents and tourists. Last week, Rep. Gosar first took action by sending a letter (which can be found HERE) to National Park Service (NPS) Director Jonathan Jarvis, asking the agency to consider the request of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission (AZG&F) to use state resources to open Lees Ferry, the gateway to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon - the very symbol of Arizona, and other important recreation areas.

Despite the House of Representatives passing Open Our National Parks and Museum Act (H.J. Res.70) by a large bipartisan margin (252 to 173), the Democrat-led Senate and the Obama Administration are turning their backs on states and communities around the country that rely on federal parks and lands as economic drivers. Both Senate Majority Leader Reid and President Obama made clear that they will not take up this important piece of legislation.

After sending his letter, Rep. Gosar took to the House floor to address the importance of reopening these sites during the shutdown. Click HERE or below to watch Rep. Gosar's speech:

In his letter, Rep. Gosar said the following:

“I am writing to express my outrage with the National Park Service’s politically motivated actions and urge you to instruct NPS employees to take all actions allowable under the law to alleviate any inconveniences to the general public.”

The letter goes on to describe the efforts of the AZG&F:

 “Arizona Game and Fish Commission met in a special public session on October 1st to discuss the challenges the federal government’s shutdown policies are placing on lands and waters where lawful and hunting and fishing occur. At that session, the Commission voted to extend an offer to the NPS for the Department to provide manpower and services to establish a presence sufficient to maintain security and restore access to the Lees Ferry area. This is a generous and common sense offer.  It minimizes the public harm – a goal the agency should share.”  

Shortly after Rep. Gosar sent his letter, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer followed up asking federal authorities to allow states to use their resources to open national lands and parks.

The Obama Administration initially refused to accept offers from state agencies to operate parks and recreation areas, but yesterday, after significant Congressional pressure was applied, the NPS began negotiating agreements with willing states. States like Arizona are concerned that the federal government will not reimburse them after the shutdown ends. 

Federal Reimbursement Legislation:

Today, Rep. Gosar worked with Rep. Steve Daines to introduce legislation (H.R.3286) that will ensure states are repaid by the federal government if they choose to use state funds to open their parks.

“Arizona's economy continues to unnecessarily lose millions of dollars of economic activity because President Obama, Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader Pelosi refuse to negotiate with Republicans to end the shutdown,” stated Rep. Gosar. “States like Arizona are willing to step up and keep sites like the Grand Canyon open, as my state did during the 1995 shutdown, but they need assurances the federal government will keep their end of the bargain. This bill will ensure the feds do not continue to break their promises to our constituents.”  

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