Grand Canyon Will Remain Open If Government Partially Shuts Down, Ducey Says

By Chloe Jones
Published: Friday, December 21, 2018 - 4:24pm
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Murphy Woodhouse/KJZZ
Grand Canyon

President Trump said the government will partially shut down unless a bill for border wall funding passes today, but Gov. Doug Ducey says the Grand Canyon will remain open.

Ducey said the state parks agency will work with the National Park Service, local governments and businesses to keep the gates to the Grand Canyon open.

Kevin Dahl is the senior program manager of National Parks Conservation Association. He says private businesses will maintain restrooms and pick up trash, but essential workers handling law enforcement and emergency services will be working without pay — and the state will not be reimbursed for money spent to keep the park open.  

“What’s ridiculous is that after all is said and done and the government comes back online, all these of these staff people will get their back pay, so we’re not saving any money, and at the same time resources are being damaged because the park service is not there,” says Dahl.

Dahl says the park will lose revenue as it will not have rangers to charge entry fees. There will also not be rangers to provide information or ensure visitors have appropriate permits and stay on trails.

“It’s very possible that people will take this opportunity to do illegal camping. We saw that at parks across the country during the last shutdown. It’s just not healthy for the natural and cultural resources that we honor through our national parks system.”

Dahl says Grand Canyon and Saguaro are the only two national parks in Arizona that will remain open, and only in a limited capacity.

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