RRFW Riverwire - River Open If Feds Close

January 19, 2018

In the event of a partial government shutdown Friday night, January 19, 2018, do-it-yourself river runners with permits to raft the Colorado River in Grand Canyon will still be able to launch at Lee’s Ferry, AZ.

In a conference call held the morning of January 19, 2018, Incident Commander and Chief of Law Enforcement Matt Vandzura stated river runners will be able to continue to launch their river trips into Grand Canyon National Park.

Law Enforcement Rangers, considered essential employees, will still check river trips at the Lee’s Ferry Ramp as they normally do, but the restrooms at Lee’s Ferry may be closed.

Conference call participants included the Mayor of the gateway town of Tusayan, Senator John McCain’s office, large concessionaires such as Xanterra and the Williams-Grand Canyon Railroad, commercial use authorization holders, Grand Canyon Association and the shuttle bus contractor Paul Revere.

In 2013, the Park conducted a hard closure with Law Enforcement Rangers placed at Jersey barriers put up on the road to Lee’s Ferry. If the Federal Government shuts down tonight, Grand Canyon National park will remain “as accessible as possible.”

According to Ranger Vandzura, the National Park Service cannot say they are open. “You can” he said, “but we can’t.” Vandzura noted essential services such as the operation of the Park’s helicopter and the Grand Canyon Clinic will remain fully operational. Unless donations or volunteers come forward, restrooms and visitor centers will be closed.

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