Unless cooler heads prevail in the nation’s capital, Grand Canyon National Park will begin its Centennial year with a whimper due to the partial government shutdown that began on December 22.
Though the South Rim is open to visitation (including trails, overlooks, roads, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and gift shops), services provided by the National Park Service have been dramatically reduced.
As a reminder of the importance of Grand Canyon to the Arizona economy, the state is providing funding for trash collection, custodial services for restrooms, and snow removal on trails and sidewalks.
The scene in the park is a bit surreal for locals, as the park is jammed with visitors, with most appearing to be taking the limited services in stride. Having been a park resident for several no-access closures over the years, the current scenario is certainly better than nothing.
But one would hope for more from a nation that prides itself, in part, as stewards of some of the world’s most precious landscapes. I would encourage readers to let your voice be heard, and begin with your elected representatives.