While other national parks have faced damaging behavior during the government shutdown — sometimes severe enough to force them to close — the Grand Canyon has avoided it due to an agreement that keeps it up and running.
The partial federal government shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, has forced furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal government employees. This has left many parks without most of the rangers and others who staff campgrounds and otherwise keep parks running.
Unlike shutdowns in some previous administrations, the Trump administration left parks open to visitors despite the staff furloughs.
National parks including Joshua Tree and Yosemite in California have dealt with human feces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other problems that can harm fragile, natural areas.
The Grand Canyon Protection Plan enacted in 2018 allows the canyon to stay open using transferred state funds, meaning that it can keep more staff on hand than other parks.
The state government and the U.S. Department of the Interior coordinate to keep trails, campsites, restrooms and shuttles open and continue trash removal and public safety services.
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