Interior Department Considers Offers To Re-Open Park But Releases Few Details

October 11, 2013

Arizona officials are still waiting for details of any possible plan to reopen Grand Canyon National Park. And, Governor Brewer’s press aide, Andrew Wilder says even though the Interior Department has announced it would consider offers from the states to use local dollars to fund park operations, a conversation with Secretary Sally Jewell provided few details.

“She just communicated that they were considering entertaining offers from the governors that would involve state dollars to fund fully park operations,” Jewell said. “We have no details of that.”

Those details matter, since the state wants to use taxpayer and private money for a partial reopening of the park. In 1995, that cost $17,000 a day. It’s expected the current price tag would be about $30,000. But Interior Department spokesman Blake Androff says the only offer the agency will consider is full funding. Grand Canyon Superintendent Dave Uberuaga says that likely would cost over $100,000 a day. But, he says there’s a bus system to shuttle visitors around that wasn’t there in 1995.

“I think at this point in time everything's premature,” Uberuaga said. “But my recommendation would be we open the whole park if we open it up and not anything less. I'm not sure how it's all going to work out.”

Tusayan Town Manager Will Wright says the city has pledged $200,000 and that area businesses would likely put up about the same amount. But, Wright worries that if the park can only be opened for a few days, it might do more harm than good.

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