GOP bill would prevent national park closures in next shutdown

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) has introduced legislation that would prevent national park closures during any future government shutdown.

The bill, titled the "Provide Access and Retain Continuity Act" (PARC), would allow states to fund and keep operations running at parks and other federal facilities or programs that directly affect tourism, mining, timber or transportation sectors.

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"The PARC Act would ensure that an agreement is in place to allow states to quickly continue funding and operating federal facilities and programs that are vital to their economies, if they so choose," Stewart said in a statement on Wednesday.

"There is no reason that hardworking American families and communities should be punished due to circumstances over which they have no control."

During the 16-day government shutdown, Utah reached an agreement with the Interior Department to reopen eight national sites for 10 days as long as the state footed the bill. South Dakota, Colorado and Arizona also signed similar agreements with the Interior Department.

The National Park Service drew much criticism from the GOP over the closure of parks and monuments.

On the last day of the government shutdown, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) served the Park Service with a subpoena for documents relating to the shutdown and the sequester.