Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Friday, October 4, 2013 at 9:58 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (8)
  • Print

Grand Canyon closure shuts down $1.3 million in daily spending

October is normally a busy period at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, but the park is closed because of the budget impasse.

Associated Press

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
What a hilarious headline, "Grand Canyon Closure". Yeah, they wrapped... MORE
Mental note to self....never plan to visit a National Park in October. MORE
zDawg - You guys can spin this all you want, but 1) the National Mall is a national... MORE

advertising

About 4.5 million tourists from around the world make the trip every year to the Grand Canyon National Park in northern Arizona, a trek that pours an estimated $1.3 million a day into nearby communities. The shutdown of the federal government has led the iconic park to be shut down for only the second time since it was created in 1919. Closed are roads, campgrounds, lodges, trails, overlooks and entry sites for rafting trips down the Colorado River through the gorge.

The shutdown that began Tuesday after Congress failed to pass a federal budget has happened once before, in 1995. That shutdown led then-Gov. Fife Symington to lead a convoy filled with Arizona National Guard troops and state parks officers to the canyon and demand its superintendent open the gates. The effort failed, but he was able to negotiate a deal where a partial reopening would be paid for by state funds. The federal government later repaid the state. The closure was the first since the park was created in 1919.

After Tuesday’s shutdown, current Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s staff called superintendent Dave Uberuaga and offered to find a way to pay for the park to be reopened. Businesses that run hotels and other business in the nearby town of Tusayan also offered to pony up cash to pay for park employees and other costs. As the former superintendent had in 1995, Uberuaga rejected the offer. He plans to stick to his guns, part of an Obama administration strategy of not accepting partial fixes for the budget impasse now gripping the nation. And Brewer has no plans to push further by forcing the issue. “This isn’t 1995,” Brewer spokesman Andrew Wilder said.

The National Park Service says 2,200 federal and private employees who work in the park are on furlough and the park will remain closed until the government reopens. October is a busy time of year at the park because of the cool weather, with an average 18,000 tourists visiting each day. Hotels, concessionaires, and tour operators are losing money by the hour. The Park Service says visitors spend more than $467 million a year in the communities around park, supporting nearly 7,400 jobs in Arizona.

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Love the column? Pre-order the book!

Reserve your copy of "The Seattle Sketcher," the long-awaited book by staff artist Gabriel Campanario, for the special price of just $29.95.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►