Naylor: Agreement in place to open Painted Canyon on May 25
Painted Canyon Overlook could be open by Memorial Day, the superintendent of Theodore Roosevelt National Park said late Wednesday.
Valerie Naylor told The Press that the popular lookout rest area and tourist attraction, which is also a gateway to North Dakota's only national park, could be open by late May after an agreement was reached Wednesday.
"We've reached a preliminary agreement that would have Painted Canyon open on May 25," Naylor said. "We still need to get final approval from the National Park Service, but we're pleased with this development. It's important that Painted Canyon be open for visitors."
Naylor said some "unexpected savings" were discovered that will allow the overlook to open.
"Painted Canyon Overlook is a beautiful site that attracts visitors from across the nation and the world to North Dakota," said Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., in a statement issued Thursday morning. "We appreciate these federal, state and local partners working together to ensure that it will be open for the public to enjoy. Federal agencies need to be creative and work to minimize the impacts of the sequester on the public."
Naylor said the plan is to staff the Painted Canyon Visitor Center, located seven miles east of Medora along Interstate 94, with park employees as it normally would. Visited by close to 300,000 vehicles in 2012, Painted Canyon would remain open throughout the summer and likely close sometime in September.
It was announced earlier this year that the overlook would not be opened in 2013 due to federal budget cuts.