Government shutdown forces closure of Grand Canyon National Park

Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. Clara Beard/WGCN

Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. Clara Beard/WGCN

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - The National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park, because of government shutdown.

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

Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said that park visitors in all overnight campgrounds and lodges have until 6 p.m. EDT on Oct. 3 to make travel arrangements and leave the park. In addition, park officials have canceled all park programs and special events.

In Grand Canyon National Park, 438 government employees are on furlough because of the shutdown and approximately 1,400 concessions employees could be affected. The only NPS employees that remain on duty are providing security and emergency services.

Grand Canyon National Park hosts 18,000 visitors on average each day in October, and will lose an estimated $55,000 in revenue each day because of the shutdown.

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

Nationwide, the NPS stands to lose approximately $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping.

Gateway communities across the country see a loss of about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending during a government shutdown.

Nationwide, the shutdown has furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees. Around 3,000 employees will remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees are also affected.

The National Park Service website, NPS.gov, that has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million unique visitors each year, will be down for the duration of the shutdown because it will not be maintained.

Updates on the shutdown can be found on www.doi.gov/shutdown.

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