Arizona made a deal with the Department of the Interior to reopen Grand Canyon National Park for 10 days starting Saturday, October 12 through October 18. Visitors as well as Grand Canyon area business, tour operators, and park employees should be happy about the news, even if it could be only temporary.
With the long Columbus Day weekend on our doorstep, it's perfect timing for the deal made today between the State of Arizona and the US Department of the Interior. The deal, announced on Twitter by Governor Jan Brewer today, will fully reopen Grand Canyon National Park on Saturday, October 12 for 7 full days, through October 18, 2013. Funding, which comes out to approximately $93,000 per day for the temporary reopening, will come partly from the state's coffers as well as a significant contribution raised by the town of Tusayan. After October 18, the state will reassess whether they have enough funding to keep the park open any longer.
Visitors already in Arizona or scheduled to arrive this weekend are likely to be thrilled with this news. However, while businesses around the National Park in towns like Tusayan and Williams, who have been running at desperately low staffing levels to get through the eleven-day standstill, are working hard to ramp up staff levels in time for tomorrow's reopening, visitors are encouraged to pack their patience. Things may go a little more slowly at the park and in area hotels, restaurants and tour companies. But considering it took 70 million years for the Colorado River to carve the Grand Canyon, it seems only appropriate to take a few slow, deep breaths of cool, clear Canyon air and appreciate its grandeur at a leisurely pace.
Normally, Grand Canyon National Park is open 24 hours a day. It hasn't yet been made clear what time the park will open on Saturday, October 12.