MEDORA, N.D. (AP) — A popular lookout rest area and tourist attraction that serves as a gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park could open by Memorial Day, a park official said Wednesday.
Park Superintendent Valerie Naylor said an agreement was reached Wednesday to open Painted Canyon Overlook on May 25.
"We still need to get final approval from the National Park Service, but we're pleased with this development," Naylor told the Dickinson Press. "It's important that Painted Canyon be open for visitors."
Naylor said some "unexpected savings" were discovered that will allow the overlook along Interstate 94 to open. Painted Canyon would remain open throughout the summer and likely close sometime in September.
Officials at Theodore Roosevelt National Park announced last month that they decided not to open the overlook along Interstate 94 in April because of the automatic federal spending cuts that took effect March 1.
Nearly 300,000 vehicles stopped at the overlook just east of Medora last year. It features a majestic view of the North Dakota Badlands, as well as a visitor center.
It costs the park about $40,000 to run the overlook for a season, officials have said, which includes the cost of three staffers, utilities and custodial supplies. That amount is less than 2 percent of the park's annual budget of $2.85 million.
Naylor said the Painted Canyon Visitor Center will be staffed with park employees. The center is seven miles east of Medora along Interstate 94.