When the government officially shut down in 2013 over the debate on sequestration, sequestration which, in this case, mostly meant a change in rates of future spending, Arizona’s national parks took a financial hit. While Governor Jan Brewer and other state representatives offered to use state monies to re-open the park amid plans to fight for other benefits unavailable during the shutdown, the Grand Canyon’s surrounding areas were deserted and park employees ran out of work. People who held jobs in hospitality and food service ran out of people to serve.
On October 12, though, the park was able to reopen until the official end of the shutdown. After President Obama signed the bill that officially ended the shutdown on October 17, Jon Jarvis, an official in the Department of the Interior, wrote a letter requesting a federal refund for the money siphoned to the Grand Canyon’s maintenance for those four days. It was granted.
For that brief period of time, Arizona’s news outlets provided detailed coverage of what the shutdown of the Grand Canyon entailed. Even Cronkite News picked up the story.
All the while, reports of local businesses requesting aid and groups of protesters showing up at the park kept on the state’s radar.
It looks like protesting can be fun. Not even Congress can keep people from having a good time and enjoying nature. Even so, public parks are controlled by government officials, and when government becomes dysfunctional, parks do too.