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Ducey wants Arizona plan to keep Grand Canyon open during shutdowns

(AP Photo/Jeff Robbins, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered state officials Friday to come up with a plan to keep the Grand Canyon open during future federal government shutdowns.

“We will not let Washington’s lack of action prevent us from welcoming visitors to the Grand Canyon (National Park),” he said in a release.

In his executive order, Ducey instructed officials from Arizona State Parks and Trails to work with the Department of the Interior and National Park Service come up the so-called Grand Canyon Park Plan.

Ducey had already ordered the transfer of state money during last month’s shutdown.

The governor said he wanted an operations strategy, a financial analysis of how much that strategy would cost and guidelines to a process that would send state money to the Department of Interior to keep the park open, should the government shut down again.

“The Department of Interior, the National Park Service, and local communities have been excellent partners with the State of Arizona in keeping the Grand Canyon open in the face of chaos in Congress,” Ducey said.

Grand Canyon National Park hosts nearly 6 million tourists annually from all over the world, and has become an economic staple for rural communities in northern Arizona.

The federal government was partially shut down overnight but was back open before most of Arizona woke up.

Congress passed a bill that would fund the government for two years, ending the perpetually looming shutdown threat. However, the guts of that deal will need to be debated ahead of a March deadline.

If those talks fail, the government could close up shop for the third time this year.