Haslam eyes use of state resources to reopen National Parks in TN

Gov. Bill Haslam is working with Tennessee congressmen to assess the feasibility of using state government resources to reopen the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and three other areas closed by the partial federal government shutdown, a spokesman said Thursday.

“Our office is working with the congressional delegation to gather more information about this,” said David Smith in an email response to an inquiry.

“One of the many factors to consider is that the four large national areas in our state straddle Tennessee’s border with a neighboring state.

Besides the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the three other federaly-owned areas closed by the shutdown are:

-Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area, which includes parts of both Kentucky and Tennessee.

-Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, which includes areas within both Tennessee and Georgia.

–Shiloh National Military Park, which is centered in West Tennessee but has a related area at Corinth, Miss.

Here’s an excerpt from an AP national story on the shutdown today that mentions the park situation:

The (Obama) administration said it would allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks that have been closed.

Governors in at least four states — Utah, South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado — have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impact of the closures. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the government will consider offers to pay for park operations but will not surrender control of national parks to the states.