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Hawaii tourism keeps USS Arizona visitors center open during shutdown

FILE - This Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 file photo shows the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

PHOENIX — The USS Arizona Memorial visitors center has stayed open during the partial federal government shutdown thanks to Hawaii tour companies, hotels and airlines.

The Hawaii tourism industry’s contribution of more than $50,000 has helped the Pearl Harbor center avoid the drastic cuts to staff and services other national parks have faced since Dec. 22.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports the money will keep the National Park Service facility staffed, its bathrooms open and its programs running for at least another week.

Pacific Historic Parks CEO Aileen Utterdyke called the gesture “excellent.”

She runs a nonprofit organization that supports the operations of the memorial and the Park Service.

Earlier during the shutdown, Pearl Harbor nonprofits and Hawaii’s state tourism agency provided funds to keep the visitors center open.

Tourism industry officials worry travelers will cancel their Hawaii vacations if the Pearl Harbor visitors’ center closes.

Utterdyke says that would affect airlines and hotels and have a trickle-down effect.

In October, the National Park Service said the USS Arizona Memorial dock repair project is expected to be completed by March.

It is unclear how the shutdown has affected the repair schedule.

The USS Arizona Memorial visitors center is not the only National Park Service property kept running by alternative funding during the shutdown.

The Grand Canyon Protection Plan enacted in 2018 allows the Arizona park to keep more staff on hand and continue services like trash removal using transferred state funds.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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