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Utah Reopening National Parks, Others Eye Options

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah is set to become the first state to reopen national parks within its borders as other states also consider whether to send money to the federal government to save lucrative tourist seasons.

In southwest Utah, Zion National Park superintendent Jock Whitworth said Friday that staff members began opening gates and removing barriers and expected to have the park fully operational Saturday.

The Obama administration on Thursday announced it would allow states to foot the bill for reopening parks.

Utah is the first taker, with Gov. Gary Herbert wiring $1.67 million to federal officials to reopen five national parks and other national park units by Saturday.

At least four states had asked for the authority to reopen their parks because of the financial hit caused by the closures.

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