Mark Udall, chairman of the U.S. Senate National Parks Subcommittee, welcomed the U.S. Department of the Interior's decision today to allow Colorado to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park. The park's reopening, which comes at steep cost to the state -- $40,300 per day -- will provide economic relief for Estes Park. The town has been hit particularly hard not only by the recent, devastating flood, but also a sharp decline in tourism thanks to the federal government shutdown.
"This ongoing government shutdown is hurting Colorado's middle-class families and businesses. The reopening of Rocky Mountain National Park is welcome news for flood victims and businesses in Estes Park, but it is not enough," Udall said. "Colorado's national parks, monuments and other federal lands are the backbone of our economy and quality of life. The U.S. House of Representatives needs to end this shutdown and stop holding hostage the livelihood of Main Street businesses in places like Grand Junction, Gunnison, Cortez and Alamosa. I also have deep concerns about Colorado taxpayers and our cash-strapped state government footing the bill for Rocky Mountain National Park. It's time for one extreme faction in Congress to step up, stop undermining Colorado's economy and allow Congress to end this shutdown."
Udall has been a strong voice for reopening Rocky Mountain National Park to help the people of Estes Park recovery from the flood. He also has repeatedly called for an end to the partisan shutdown and for Congress to avert the looming federal government default. Earlier this week he spoke on the U.S. Senate floor and decried how an extreme faction of the Republican Party is jeopardizing our economic recovery.