So this is what passes for progress. U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has accepted Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's offer to provide funding to keep Utah's national parks open through the federal shutdown. It's still no way to run a nation, but getting the parks open is a worthwhile goal.
State and federal officials were working to finalize the deal, but it appears the parks will open as soon as Friday. More negotiations are under way with other states whose governors made similar offers to loan the federal government the money to reopen parks.
It costs $60,000 per day for the National Park Service to operate Utah's five national parks. And if this episode proves anything, it's that the parks are a bargain. They clearly are a cornerstone of Utah's tourism industry, which brings in more than $20 million per day. For gateway towns like Springdale and Moab, it literally keeps people from losing their jobs and businesses.