CARSON CITY — Faced with the likely shutdown of critical food stamp and child nutrition programs if the partial federal government shutdown continues, Nevada cannot afford to pay to reopen federal parks, the Sandoval administration said Thursday.
The Obama administration said it will allow states to use their own money to reopen some national parks that have been closed because of the government shutdown.
But Mary-Sarah Kinner, spokeswoman for Gov. Brian Sandoval, said Nevada cannot afford to consider such an option.
“With so many Nevadans facing real consequences, the state simply cannot afford to reopen federal parks at this time,” she said.
Nevada state parks are open and continue to be an option for residents and visitors alike, Kinner said.
Federal parks and recreation areas in Nevada closed due to the federal shutdown include the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Great Basin National Park.
Sandoval was told Tuesday by members of his Cabinet that over 360,000 recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and 73,000 recipients of a supplemental food program for infants and pregnant women will no longer receive help starting Nov. 1 if the federal government shutdown continues.
Nevadans getting unemployment benefits might not get their checks either starting Nov. 1 unless state money can be identified to pay the workers who now process those payments, Sandoval was told.
Governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has said his state has resources that could be used to operate the parks if federal funding is not available. Governors of South Dakota, Arizona and Colorado have made similar requests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.