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Some big parks in US Southwest remain open despite shutdown

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Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-22 20:21:34-05

PHOENIX - Several national parks that are big tourist draws in the US Southwest remained open Saturday during the federal government shutdown while other parks and monuments locked their gates and doors.

Arizona and Utah officials implemented funding plans to keep open Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said travelers planned their visits months in advance and his state wants them "to return home with memories of magnificent vistas and welcoming people, not locked doors."

Elsewhere in Arizona, trails and roads in Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona were open but park staff was furloughed and visitor centers closed, while Petrified Forest National Park and Casa Grande Ruins National Monument in Arizona and Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico were closed as officials cited concerns for visitor safety and park resources.

Near Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreation Area remained open but officials cautioned that emergency and rescue services will be limited there and at Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument.