Local News

Tusayan Reacts To Canyon Closure

April 1, 2020

 Many in Tusayan, and Coconino County are welcoming the decision to close the Grand Canyon National Park until further notice because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 1st the National Parks Service made the decision to close the Park after getting a letter from the Health and Human Services Director and Chief Health Officer for Coconino County which recommended a full closure of the Park.

While the letter arrived  April 1st , the Coconino County Board of Supervisors has been publicly calling for a closure since last week and even issued a public statement March 26th.

Here is a link to the April 1st letter.

Among those calling for the closure was the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, and the Tusayan Fire District. The Tusayan Town Council did not call for a closure, deciding to remain neutral on the matter.

Laura Chastain, General Manager of the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, had called for the closure and supports the decision, "During these unprecedented times and for the safety of our rural community we are happy the Grand Canyon National Park has received approval to close.  As the Chamber of Commerce we will continue to provide members with information on SBA loans and other grants and funding that can assist during this pandemic.  We continue to work with NPS, Coconino County Economic Development, the Governor’s office and the Town of Tusayan to find solutions that will best care for our community."

Tusayan Vice Mayor Brady Harris in a written statement said he respects the decision, “In light of recent events, given the rapid spread of covid-19, I respect the acting Superintendent Risser's difficult decision to close the GCNP temporarily.  It was made with the best interest of our residents and the surrounding community. By closing the GCNP, I hope that the spread of this virus will be curbed, allowing us to return back to normal, as quickly and safely as possible.  We encourage everyone to continue following the CDC guidelines, Governor Ducey's orders, and continue practicing safe habits to ensure the safety of yourself and families.”

Red Feather Properties Manager Clarinda Vail supports the decision to close the Park having previously advocated for its closure. Vail said, “We are glad to see that clearer heads have prevailed and that Grand Canyon National Park is closed during this public health emergency. We are also thankful that our local essential service staff members won’t be coming into contact with as many people and we can help to flatten the curve. This is something that many in our area felt should have happened many days ago, but we are happy if finally has.”

The Parks Service news release says acting Superintendent Mary Risser made the decision , with the support of the NPS Deputy Director, Operations, David Vela and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.