The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

October 13, 2013

Grand Canyon back open for business

(Continued)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. —

In additional to state money, cash provided by the town of Tusayan, just outside the South Rim entrance, and private business would also be included in the funding.

At this time of year, the Grand Canyon draws about 18,000 people a day who pump an estimated $1 million a day into the local economy.

The town of Tusayan, and area businesses have pledged $400,000 to help reopen the canyon, but Wilder said it was unclear if the Interior Department could accept private funds.

In Utah, federal workers rushed to reopen five national parks for 10 days after the state sent $1.67 million to the U.S. government with the hope of saving its lucrative tourist season.

Zion National Park superintendent Jock Whitworth said staff members began opening gates and removing barriers and expected to have the park fully operational Saturday.

“This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in Utah during this shutdown,” Interior Department Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement.

It was welcome news for beleaguered shop owners in the small town of Springdale adjacent to Zion. Hotels have been vacant and rental and retail shops have seen sales plummet during the shutdown.

“It’s going to be awesome,” said Jenna Milligan of Zion Outfitters, an outdoor gear rental shop. “A lot of businesses have suffered severely because of the government. I just hope it does stay open through autumn.”

In Colorado, officials said a deal had been struck for the state to pay $360,000 to reopen Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 days to allow tourists to reach Estes Park. The visitors are needed to help the town recover from flooding.

Slightly more than 400 national parks, recreation areas and monuments — including such icons as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite — have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown.

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