Community News

Tusayan Tries To Prevent Another Canyon Closure

November 25, 2013

“If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re on the menu.” Tusayan Mayor Greg Bryan cited that quote as part of his motivation to back legislation that would require the federal government to accept non-federal funds to keep national parks open in the event of another government shutdown. Mayor Bryan said Tusayan lost at least $8 million in revenues and wages.

After the closure business leader and Red Feather Properties Manager Clarinda Vail led efforts to privately fund the Canyon during the shutdown. She also led a protest. Soon after a long list of business leaders backed the effort as did the Town of Tusayan and the state of Arizona. But a number of days passed before the federal government relented.

Vail, along with Becky Shearer were recently honored by the Town Council for their efforts to re-open the Canyon. Mayor Bryan went to Washington DC to offer testimony on the impact the closure had on Tusayan.

Mayor Bryan said Arizona Senator Jeff Flake has proposed the bill and two other states are also pushing for its passage, “It would require the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture whenever there’s a government shutdown to work with municipalities and states that offer or are willing to submit funding for keeping the park, monument, or forest open because it is important to their community economically.”

In a news release Senator Flake stated, “Closures of federal lands affect not just campers, recreational hunters and those who love the outdoors, but also those who protect communities from catastrophic wildfires, veterans trying to visit war memorials and the economic wellbeing of many towns that rely on tourism. If public or private funds are offered to help keep national parks and other public lands open in the event of a government shutdown, the federal government ought to accept them, and quickly.”