GCPBA had a conversation with Matt Vandzura, chief ranger at Grand Canyon National Park, Friday morning, January 19, 2018, regarding consequences for private river runners should a government shutdown happen later that day.
He said to us that the word from Washington is, "National parks will remain accessible to the American public." River runners will still be allowed access to the park to launch their trips that they had been planning for perhaps more than a year. Activity at the launch ramp, including the ranger check of the required boating and camping gear and an orientation talk, would be "business as usual" at Lees Ferry.
This is a stark contrast from the situation starting October 1, 2013, when a government shutdown happened and GCNP was fully closed, preventing river runners from accessing their launch ramp at Lees Ferry. The access road was barricaded and guarded by armed law enforcement. Dozens of river trips were canceled with river trip participants congregating above the barricades, hoping for news of an open park before the shutdown was lifted October 17. Permit holders who had their trips canceled were later offered to choose a preferred new launch date within three years.
GCPBA thanks Ranger Vandzura for taking the time to speak with us.