The move was brought on by calls from the governors of at least four states asking for authority to reopen parks within the boundaries of their states because of the economic consequences the closings have caused.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a letter Thursday to governors in Utah and other states that the government would consider letting the individual states pay to reopen some of their national parks, but she also made it clear that the federal government was not going to give up control of the parks to the states.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has said that his state does have the money to fund the operations of the national parks within their boundaries, if the federal government is unable to fund them. The governors of South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado have said the same thing.
During the last shutdown in 1995, then governor Fife Symington of Arizona sent unarmed National Guardsmen to the Grand Canyon's gate in order to operate the facility and keep the park open. They were eventually called off, but the move did result in an agreement that kept part of the park open.