Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed Grand Canyon National Park. All 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 will be given until 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, October 3 to make travel arrangements and leave the park. In addition, all park programs and special events have been canceled.
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. 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 about $76 million per day in total sales from visitor spending that is lost during a government shutdown. Visitors spend over $467 million a year in the communities around Grand Canyon National Park – visitor spending supports 7,361 jobs in Arizona.
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.
Nationwide the shutdown has also furloughed more than 20,000 National Park Service employees; approximately 3,000 employees remain on duty to ensure essential health, safety, and security functions at parks and facilities. About 12,000 park concessions employees are also affected.
Because it will not be maintained, the National Park Service website will be down for the duration of the shutdown. NPS.gov has more than 750,000 pages and 91 million unique visitors each year.