By Becky Hogan
The Grand Canyon National Park reopened Saturday in the midst of the government shutdown after Arizona Governor Jan Brewer negotiated a deal with federal officials to reopen the park for seven days.
The communities that surround the Grand Canyon rely heavily on tourism and the approximately 18,000 visitors that the Park draws daily.
And Brewer was determined to get the Park up and running again with or without the cooperation of the federal government to get tourism revenues coming in again. The state will pay $651,000 to cover a week’s worth of costs to reopen the entire park for seven days.
The funding, $93,000 a day, will come from a mix of state sources and includes funds contributed by Tusayan businesses. The town of Tusayan and its businesses could contribute up to $426,500. After the seven days, the state will reassess whether they have enough funding to keep the park open any longer.
Interior Department spokesman Blake Androff said Thursday the government had no plans to reimburse states that put up funds to reopen parks. But members of Congress introduced legislation Friday to refund the money within 90 days.
Gov. Jan Brewer made the announcement on Twitter Friday.
But she gained more Facebook Likes than Twitter Followers as a result of the announcement. On both platforms, her peak days occurred when the news was first announced that the Grand canyon would reopen.
As a result of her savvy negotiation skills, the buzz that Brewer has generated online has helped her leap to the number 8 spot on the TrendPo Rank. She’s the highest seated governor this week, ahead of California Governor Jerry Brown.
The Grand Canyon, along with all other national parks, was closed by the government shutdown that began October 1.
The Interior Department had reached similar reopening agreements with Utah and Colorado earlier on Friday. Compared to Brewer, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper did not see nearly the buzz for the the deals they struck.
Part of the reason that Brewer has seen so much momentum around the issue is that she’s been so vocal about calling on President Obama to reopen the Arizona national park and other national parks throughout the country. Negotiations to reopen the park faltered on Thursday but because Brewer pushed though, she’s seen the biggest gains of any governor yet.
The deal was not only a great boost for the local economies affected by the shutdown of the park but also for her social media presence. We’ll continue to watch the ranking to see how other Governors are reacting to the affects of the government shutdown.