10.01.13 Update From Lee's Ferry
GCPBA President Wally Rist and Board member Rich Turner have been in the Lees Ferry area today. They called me from there, where they have phone service, but no internet access. They spent time today at the Route 89/Lees Ferry Road intersection, talking with rangers, private boaters, and commercial boating personnel. They asked me to pass along this update on how things look to folks on the ground there.
All trips scheduled to launch today were able to launch. But no trips rigged today, and no further trips are being allowed to enter the Lees Ferry road to rig. There are commercial trips waiting near the entrance, as well as private trips being outfitted by commercial firms.
They consistently were told that there is nothing that NPS officials can do to change this situation. The decision to close the Park to boating was made by the Department of Interior in Washington. In that light, they recommend that individuals who want to try to bring about a change in policy contact their Members of Congress, or Interior officials in Washington.
GCPBA's Board was scheduled to meet with Superintendent Uberuaga and other key Park officials this coming weekend. We have been advised that they have been instructed not to attend if the current situation continues. Moreover, they have been instructed that they may not even volunteer their time to do so.
GCPBA urges the Secretary of the Interior to explore and adopt revised procedures for Grand Canyon river access, which will ensure scheduled trips launch, and that Phantom Ranch exchanges be permitted.
We will continue to track this situation and provide updates, as well as information on any potentially useful public action that could be taken.
GCPBA RiverNews 10.01.13 - GCNP Press Release - Government Shutdown Forces Closure of Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon, Ariz. - Because of the shutdown of the federal government caused by the lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service (NPS) has closed all 401 national parks, including 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.
For updates on the shutdown, please visit www.doi.gov/shutdown.
About the National Park Service. National Park Service employees care for America's 401 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
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