Grand Canyon Avoids Many Shutdown Problems Seen at Other Parks

Jan 9, 2019

Visitors at national parks across the country have faced a lack of many basic services during the partial government shutdown. Member station KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, an executive order by Arizona’s governor has prevented some of those issues at Grand Canyon National Park.

Visitors braved a cold, windy day Tue, Jan. 8 at Mather Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Governor Doug Ducey issued his Grand Canyon Protection Plan during the federal shutdown last February. Under the order, Arizona is paying nearly 65,000 dollars a week from its Tourism and Parks departments to maintain restrooms, run shuttles, collect trash, and keep trails open. Emergency personnel and law enforcement rangers are also still on the job.

The South Rim Visitor's Center is closed during the shutdown along with educational and interpretive services and other programs.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

Emily Davis is a Grand Canyon spokesperson.

"Right now we do have skeleton crews. Some of things that are closed at Grand Canyon that people won’t be able to experience are things like the visitor’s centers, interpretive programs, many ranger-led walks or talks," she says. 

Views at the South Rim of recent snow at the Grand Canyon remain undiminished during the shutdown.
Credit Ryan Heinsius

A steady stream of visitors is still traveling to the park even as its slow season begins. Grand Canyon is a major economic driver for Arizona, and attracts more than 6 million visitors a year and hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism revenue.