With a deal to fund the government in sight, Grand Canyon National Park resumed normal operations Jan. 23, four days after the Jan. 19 deadline to pass a budget failed to get any traction. Park gates were open throughout the budget negotiations, although no revenue was collected from vehicles entering the park.
Hotels, restaurants and concessions remained open throughout the shutdown, although NPS operations such as entrance gates, the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and the Backcountry Office were closed. Crucial services, such as trash removal and emergency dispatch remained open, although some, like the National Parks Conservation Association’s John Gardner, said leaving parks open to the public without a full staff could expose both the parks and the public to unnecessary risks.
“Having such limited staff at national parks puts visitors at greater risk,” Gardner said in a statement. National park rangers are on the front lines of visitor safety, making people aware of risks, patrolling dangerous areas, conducting search and rescue efforts and coordinating with state and local emergency crews to aid people who need help.”
The park will reopen as scheduled Jan. 23.