Governor Beshear’s Communications Director Kerri Richardson says Beshear needs more information regarding future federal reimbursement and the level at which the facilities could be reopened before deciding on reopening federal parks like Mammoth Cave and Land Between the Lakes.
There’s no word yet from Governor Steve Beshear regarding whether he will use state funds to reopen national parks that have been closed due to the government shutdown.
The Obama administration says it will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks.
The Governors of Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota, and Utah have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures. The closing of parks in Kentucky, such as Mammoth Cave National Park, has sent workers home and is a drag on local economies that benefit from tourists who visit the park and other nearby attractions.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a letter Thursday to the four governors that the government will consider offers to pay for park operations, but will not surrender control of national parks to the states.
The Kentucky Department of Parks wants to clear up some confusion concerning the federal government shutdown.
"All 49 Kentucky state parks are open during their regular business hours. That includes our campgrounds, restaurants, historic sites, our lodges and cabins, and all the other things people like to visit,” Parks Department spokesman Gil Lawson told WKU Public Radio.
Lawson says some state parks--such as Barren River Lake State Resort Park--sit on lakes administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While federally-run campgrounds at the parks may be closed due to the shudown, Lawson emphasizes that state campgrounds remain open for business.
He says federal and state-run parks often share similar names, which can confuse the public regarding which remain open during the ongoing impasse in Washington.
Two Allen County basket makers are in Washington D.C. to see their work featured in a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution.
But their plans could be ruined because of the government shutdown.
Scott Gilbert and Beth Hester are a husband-and-wife basket making team from Scottsville. One of Gilbert’s baskets is part of a Smithsonian exhibit scheduled to open to the public this Friday. That opening is in jeopardy unless Congress passes a measure funding the government.
Gilbert told WKU Public Radio he and his wife walked to the exhibit gallery Tuesday morning, only to find all the doors locked.
“Well, for a little while I was really mad about it. But when you’re standing here—we’re at the corner of I and 17th Avenues—and everything is hustle and bustle, and life goes on and the city goes on. I really don’t think they care much about the government here in Washington," Gilbert said with a laugh.