Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park on Day Nine of the Government Shutdown

The Visitors' Center at Grand Canyon National Park on Day Nine of the government shutdown. October is one of the highest attendance months at the park. The uncharacteristic emptiness was termed   "eerie" and "creepy by those whom we chanced upon at the south rim.
The Visitors’ Center at Grand Canyon National Park on Day Nine of the government shutdown. October is one of the highest attendance months at the park. The uncharacteristic emptiness was termed “eerie” and “creepy by those whom we chanced upon at the South Rim today.

Following a week of mishaps and misadventures on the road, we arrived at Grand Canyon National Park on September 23. We’ll be spending the next several months  living in and exploring the park and surrounds.

As most every reader will know, the shutdown of the U.S. government on Oct. 1 forced the closure of the park and I have a front row seat to what this means for the community of 2,000-3,000 that is Grand Canyon.

IMG_3480
Sign on Route 64 as one approaches the town of Tusayan from the south.

Once the park reopens, I expect to be working part-time in the Kolb Studio while my husband serves at Verkamps. The Grand Canyon Association, the park’s non-profit partner, operates these facilities and has been expending tremendous efforts to keep its people employed during the shutdown. The GCA’s Board of Directors, CEO Susan Schroeder and her management team are to be commended.

Thanks to Verizon (which appears to be the ONLY WiFi company able to provide Internet service here), I’m able to resume blogging and will be posting stories on a number of topics relative to the park’s closure.

My husband and I spent a good bit of today walking the South Rim and engaging in conversation. We chanced upon Lance Diskan, founder of the Flagstaff Dark Skies Coalition, near the (now closed) El Tovar Hotel (I’ll be reporting here on the Dark Skies project). Lance’s wife has been working on reintroducing native plant species to the park (I’ll have more on this as well). I had another conversation with Caitlyn Shaw, a young woman from Utah (a Red Sox fan!), whom I met as she was walking up Bright Angel Trail behind a mule train led by a wrangler and a park ranger. Caitlyn had traveled up Bright Angel after running the rapids on the Colorado (she’d put in on October 1) and the mule train was bringing up materials used by rangers in the canyon. I’ll have more on her story and more about those still running the river.

St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix shipped up 600 boxes of food to be distributed to those in need at Grand Canyon. Each box was filled with a box of corn flakes, cans of fruit and vegetables, pasta, tomato sauce, and rice.
St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix delivered 600 boxes of food to be distributed to those in need at Grand Canyon. Each box was filled with a box of corn flakes, cans of fruit and vegetables, pasta, tomato sauce, and rice.

In the Maswik Lodge Cafeteria, I chatted with folks who are distributing boxes of household staples to those in need. Ten pallets holding 60 boxes each were provided by St. Mary’s Food Bank of Phoenix. A number of these 30-40 lb. boxes were also dropped at the North Rim and at Tusayan, a small community that sits just outside the south entrance of the park. St. Mary’s will return on Oct. 11 with fresh produce and bread to be distributed from the Backcountry Office Parking Lot.

Keep watching this space for updates.

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