Shutdown Would Boot Visitors From Grand Canyon

September 30, 2013

The federal government is just hours away from potentially shutting down, and that means national parks could be closing too.

grand canyon Visitors to the Grand Canyon could be affected if the federal government shutdown occurs. (Photo by Peter O'Dowd-KJZZ)

Visitors to the Grand Canyon could be affected in a number of ways. Starting Tuesday morning, people would be turned away at the gates to Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon Railway, which travels from Williams to the canyon, would not run at all.

Visitors already staying at one of the park’s established campgrounds or lodges would be given 48 hours to leave, but spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge explained those hiking or camping in the back country would be able to exit the park at their own pace.

“And that includes the people on the river, as well,” Oltrogge said. “So, if they’ve already launched, they would be continuing their trip. Now, they wouldn’t be able to trade out passengers as some of them do at Phantom Ranch. New people coming in would not be authorized.”

Oltrogge added that most employees would be furloughed, but those deemed essential would stay on the job. That could include some rangers needed for the safety of visitors still in the park. The school, post office and clinic used by 2,000 government and vendor employees would also remain staffed. 

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