Grand Canyon Closure Aids Ariz. Businesses

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October 15, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

Arizona's tourism industry has spent nearly two weeks fretting over the economic effects of Grand Canyon National Park's closure, which ended Saturday. But, according to a report by KTAR Radio, less than 50 miles to the east, where the Little Colorado River Gorge meets the canyon, business is booming.

"It's a blessing in disguise," said Roberta John, senior economic development specialist for the Navajo Nation, "and we're taking it for all it's worth."

While some national parks and other federally managed lands are still closed to the public during the government shutdown, tribal lands, state parks and privately owned attractions are still open, and seeing an increase in business as tourists look for alternatives to federal parks.

The timing is perfect for the Navajo Nation, which owns the land to the east of Grand Canyon National Park. It has been trying to attract more tourists to its smaller section of the canyon, even hosting daredevil Nik Wallenda and the Discovery Channel when Wallenda walked a tightrope over the 1,500-foot gorge in June.

Besides the park at the Little Colorado, other Navajo parks at Lake Powell, Window Rock, Four Corners and elsewhere are still open. And Navajo tour guides are still giving tours at Canyon de Chelly National Monument, a national park where the visitor center is closed but the land is still open to visitors.

John said those tour guides are probably benefiting the most, as they receive more calls than usual during the shutdown.

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