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Updated Oct 16, 2013 - 2:02 pm

Gov. Brewer announces state will continue funding Grand Canyon

PHOENIX -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has decided to fund the Grand Canyon National Park for an additional nine days while the government continues to be shutdown.

"Grand Canyon's importance to Arizona's tourism industry and overall economy cannot be ignored," said Gov. Brewer in a statement Wednesday. "While I am pleased the state is able to ensure the Canyon remains open during this critical season, it is well past time for the federal government to end this shutdown and pay its bills."

The agreement Brewer struck last week with the National Park Service to pay to keep the park open was set to expire Friday night. The deal required Brewer to give the park two days notice to remain open.

Brewer said the state wired $837,000 to the federal government and the park will be open through at least Oct. 27.

"If they come to a resolution, the money we've wired the feds today to keep the canyon open for an additional nine days will be returned to Arizona taxpayers," she said.

Arizona is paying $93,000 a day to keep the canyon open during the government shutdown.

Businesses that rely on the canyon for tourist dollars were hurt during the 11- day closure that ended Saturday morning. Brewer is using money from the state Office of Tourism, the town of Tusayan and businesses to pay for park operations.

Arizona national park visitors have spent an average of $2.5 million a day during October in the past, about half of that at Grand Canyon National Park.

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