Grand Canyon, other national parks in AZ closed during shutdown - New York News

Grand Canyon, other national parks in AZ closed during shutdown

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GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. -

Tourists headed to the Grand Canyon Tuesday will find themselves turned away at the entrance gates.

National parks and monuments across the U.S. were closed Tuesday due to the government shutdown. 428 government workers at the Grand Canyon were furloughed.

Nationwide the shutdown has also furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees.

All visitor facilities including visitor centers, park hotels, campgrounds and roads -- except for Highway 64 -- are closed.  The park will remain closed until the government reopens.

People traveling to the Grand Canyon have oftentimes been planning their trips for months -- and may have even come from overseas.

"All over the world. Everyone is being very polite, we're trying to maintain an orderly closure. People are doing a wonderful job of following instructions," said Kirby Lynn Shedlowsky, spokesperson for the National Park Service.

"The people who are in the back country or already on a river trip that left before the government shutdown began are going to be allowed to continue their trips. We don't have the staff or resources to contact each of them individually. As their trips ends they then will be required to leave the park."

Grand Canyon Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said that park visitors in all overnight campgrounds and lodges will be given until 3 p.m. local time on Thursday, October 3 to leave the park and make other travel arrangements.

Grand Canyon National Park hosts 18,000 visitors on average each day in October. Nationally, more than 715,000 visitors a day frequent the National Park System. The park will lose an estimated $55,000 in lost revenues each day.

Visitors spend over $467 million a year in the communities around Grand Canyon National Park, and visitor spending supports 7,361 jobs in Arizona, according to officials at Grand Canyon National Park.

In 1995, then-governor Fife Symington used private donations and state funds to keep part of the Grand Canyon running for visitors for 21 days. Tuesday, Governor Jan Brewer said she had no plan to do the same thing, calling it a low priority.

Bearizona Wildlife Park, located south of the Grand Canyon, remains open. Several tour buses scheduled to go to the Grand Canyon reportedly detoured there.

People traveling in tent campers, RVs, and trailer campers, who were forced to leave federal campgrounds during the shutdown, are asked to call 520-586-2283. The Arizona State Parks department can help them find an alternate campsite.

Complete list of national parks in Arizona

Canyon De Chelly National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Fort Bowie National Historic Site
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Grand Canyon National Park
Hohokam Pima National Monument
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
Joshua Tree National Park
Lake Mead National Recreation Area
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Navajo National Monument
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Petrified Forest National Park
Saguaro National Park
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Tonto National Monument
Tumacacori National Historical Park
Tuzigoot National Monument
Walnut Canyon National Monument
Wupatki National Monument

Online: www.doi.gov/shutdown

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