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Mayor: Extended Grand Canyon closure ‘nuclear’ for Tusayan

PHOENIX — An extended closure of Grand Canyon National Park would be worse than devastating for the small town of Tusayan.

Mayor Greg Bryan told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Mac & Gaydos Thursday that a prolonged closure would be “nuclear” for the small town near the canyon’s southern rim.

“We estimate that at a minimum we’ve lost over $1 million in revenues,” he said of the town’s losses in the 10 days the park has been closed.

Bryan, who owns a hotel in Tusayan, said his establishment went from having more than 90 percent of its rooms booked before the shutdown to 48 percent full this week. He said his hotel has lost about $250,000 so far but is lucky some tourists are showing up anyway.

“We’re very fortunate,” he said. “There’s some folks who continue to come in just to get away.”

Despite the town’s struggles, Bryan said that most businesses will be able to survive the month. However, without a lack of income, things get tight fast for many smaller businesses.

“This is the money they’ve put away for the winter,” he said, adding that the closure has turned his town into a “dead-end street.” Highway 64 was closed as part of the shutdown.

Bryan said he’s supportive of Gov. Jan Brewer’s efforts to get the park reopened.

“We welcome anything that can happen to create some new interest and bring people back to the Grand Canyon.”

However, if the effort turns out to be all bark and no bite, Bryan’s town will be in trouble.

“We certainly are praying this isn’t a political ploy,” he said.

Tusayan has raised about $400,000 to get the park reopened and said Coconino County has offered to help patrol the park to cut costs.

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