Yes, we are shutdown at Grand Canyon along with 400 other National Park sites. All websites affiliated to the parks are also shutdown leaving many people wondering what will happen to their plans to visit.
Non-essential personnel, like myself, were allowed up to four hours Tuesday morning in our offices to tie up loose ends. I submitted a timesheet that may or may not mean a pay check and left a vacation/furlough notice on my email. From that point we can no longer work.
So I shed the uniform and went up to the Lodge incognito. No problem finding a parking place.
Didn’t see a whole lot of visitors.
The shutdown and gate closing at 6am Tuesday doesn’t allow any visitors in to the park. People with overnight accommodations at the cabins or campground are allowed to stay until noon Thursday and they pretty much had the canyon to themselves. The Lodge was only 60% full as many with reservations couldn’t get in.
The Ravens were hanging about.
I’m thinking that many of the remaining visitors don’t really understand that all Federal buildings are closed, including the bathrooms. And the poor foreign visitors just don’t get the entire shutdown idea.
No one is allowed to head down the corridor trail as there are no services and few Rangers to help in the event of an emergency. Hikers with camping permits who are already in the canyon are not being escorted out. The hiker shuttle that runs from rim to rim is still in operation by private concession to bring hikers back to their vehicles.
People with permits to raft the Colorado River were allowed to launch on Monday but stopped on Tuesday. Imagine if you’d waited possibly years for the opportunity to float the Colorado in Grand Canyon and then weren’t allowed to go.
The Lodge staff continues to serve the few remaining visitors with meals and the Saloon, Gift Shop and Camp store are still open.
Visitor Use Assistants, or fee collectors, have been dismissed and will leave the park within a few days. So if we reopen visitors will have to use the automated pay station.
The rest of the non-essentials can stay living in the park until their previously assigned end dates somewhere near October 15th, paying rent but receiving no pay. The hope is Congress will decide on a budget and the Grand Canyon will reopen before that.
Essential personnel include Law Enforcement and maintenance.
If you need more information about the shutdown go to http://www.doi.gov/shutdown/index.cfm.
And Please contact your Congressional representatives http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.
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