Effort to restore park funding draws heat from senator

Northern Michigan Congressman calls for support of effort to restore National Park funding.

The impact of the government shutdown is being felt across Northern Michigan. One of the more obvious locations is at the National Parks in our area that have closed signs at their gates and entrances. The closure has an obvious impact on federal employees that work there, but it also has an economic impact on the surrounding communities which often benefit from tourist dollars.

To try and lessen that impact, Congressman Dr. Dan Benishek (MI-01) voted in favor of house legislation that will restore federal funding to the National Park System and reopen the national parks in Michigan that have been closed due to the federal government shutdown.

Congressman Benishek says â??The national parks up here in Northern Michigan are really important for jobs and tourism. Our parks shouldnâ??t be barricaded shut just because the Senate and the President chose to close down the government. The legislation I supported is a reasonable plan that would allow people to enjoy our parks right now,â?? said Dr. Benishek.

Dr. Benishek voted in favor of the "Open our National Parks and Museums Act". This legislation will restore funding to Americaâ??s National Park System and allow the national parks in Northern Michigan to reopen immediately. The legislation passed the House of Representatives and awaits action by the U.S. Senate. Senate leaders have suggested they do not plan to hold a vote on the legislation.

â??If the Senate would do their jobs and pass this bill, we could reopen the parks today. Sleeping Bear Dunes would be open. Isle Royale would be open. Pictured Rocks would be open. And Keweenaw Historical Park would be open. All that needs to happen is for the Senate to take some action and send this bill to the Presidentâ??s desk. Itâ??s as simple as that,â?? added Dr. Benishek.

When Upnorthlive reached out to Senator Carl Levin about the legislation's future in the Senate, he issued the following statement to us.

â??Every day that House Republicans waste on piecemeal bills to open slices of the government is a day that our troops and their families arenâ??t receiving important benefits and CDC experts arenâ??t tracking disease outbreaks. Itâ??s another day that the Department of Agriculture office in Traverse City, the Jordan River National Fish Hatchery and Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary are closed. This shutdown could be over within an hour of House Republicans would simply allow the Senate bill reopening all of the government to come to the House floor for a vote. Every member of the House should be asked how they would vote if the Senateâ??s bill to reopen the government is given a vote in the House.â??