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North rim of Grand Canyon greets tourists with federal budget cuts
The north rim of the Grand Canyon officially opens to tourists this week. The canyon’s south rim gets far more visitors, but tourists on the north rim may still notice federal budget cuts this summer.
The Grand Canyon’s north rim is closed to tourist traffic each year during the snowy season, from Thanksgiving until late spring. After it opens, some tourists prefer to visit the north rim because it is less crowded, and the view looking at the south rim is more impressive with a wider array of natural colors in the rock. But, the federal sequester cuts are being felt on both sides of the canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge said visitors to the north rim may have limited access to park rangers who offer informational sessions.
“Primarily that is a reduction in some of the interpretive programs that we would give and interpretive programs are those that are our ranger led programs and they are generally on the cultural and natural history of the park," Oltrogge said.
Grand Canyon and all national parks were ordered to cut their budgets by 5 percent this spring to help curb federal spending. On the south rim, that is leading to longer lines at park entrances, because there are fewer park employees working the gates.