Gov. Brewer Leads Push to Reopen Grand Canyon

Image: Gov. Brewer Leads Push to Reopen Grand Canyon National Park Service Ranger Ashley Dunbar informs a visitor where to turn around at the South entrance to the closed Grand Canyon National Park on Oct. 1.

Friday, 04 Oct 2013 03:12 PM

By Ronald Kessler

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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and local businesses are fighting to reopen the Grand Canyon after access was closed as a result of the government shutdown.

Brewer has offered to pay for the reopening of the National Park with state money, but her plan was rejected Thursday by a park official who maintained that it is not possible as long as the federal government remains closed, reports Fox News.

"I appreciate the support and I thanked them for the offer, but it’s not an offer we can accept," said park superintendent Dave Uberuaga.

More than 2,000 employees of the Grand Canyon National Park and its hotels have been furloughed since the shutdown began.

"And that’s not counting the economic impact in the gateway communities, all of the related businesses, the bus tours, hiking companies, the jeep tours, all of those associated functions are suffering economically as well," Uberuaga said.

Several of those businesses are also fighting to reopen the park. Clarinda Vail of Red Feather Properties, which operates lodges in the nearby town of Tusayan, has pledged $25,000, to do so, urging others to follow suit, 
according to the Grand Canyon News

"I just think that if private entitles are able to step up and say that we’ll help and fund to keep the Grand Canyon open for a while, I think it should be considered," Vail told the newspaper, adding, "We need our governor, Congress, Senate, everyone to not use our National Park Service as a pawn in this."


The Tusayan Town Council reportedly announced on Thursday night that it had committed $200,000 to reopen one of the park's viewpoints, but Uberuaga rejected that offer as well.

"Bottom line, any third-party funding of the national park opening will not occur. This is a fundamental core operation of the federal government provided for by government appropriations by the U.S. Congress," he said.

But Brewer is not giving up just yet. The governor wants "to see the Grand Canyon opened as soon as possible,” said her spokesman, Andrew Wilder, “but its gates are closed because there’s a failure in Washington, D.C."

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