Zion, other national parks set to reopen after Congressional voteZion, other national parks set to reopen after Congressional vote

The Senate and House voted Jan. 22 for a continuing resolution that funds the federal government through Feb. 8, which among many other items will return full services to the national parks. The bill then moved to President Donald Trump to sign, which he did the evening of Jan. 22. Zion and the other national parks are now poised to reopen with all services. This comes after a three-day partial federal government shutdown that forced the national parks to reduce to a skeleton staff of mostly law enforcement officers.

The latest continuing resolution is shorter than the previous ones at less than three weeks, during which time representatives from both parties have committed to work on both a long-term spending bill as well as immigration legislation.

A majority of senate republicans and democrats voted in favor of the bill Monday after a previous version of the bill received less than the 60 votes required to override a filibuster. The Senate voted 81 to 18 early Monday with the House voting later that day 266 to 150 in favor of the bill.

During the three-day partial shutdown, the national parks remained open to the public but without many services, including restroom maintenance or visitor centers. The government websites and social media feeds largely went quiet as government employees were not on duty to post to them. Utah’s Governor Herbert set up a page on a state-run tourism website to inform the public on the status of services available in Utah’s five national parks: Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion.

With very little information being posted, many folks visiting the parks could find little information in the regular places to inform their visits.

Numerous democrats changed their minds between Sunday and Monday, largely credited to a restating of a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Monday who  more definitively declared a willingness to discuss immigration law changes including options to address the legal status of some 700,000 immigrants brought illegally to the United States by their families, commonly known as “Dreamers.”

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