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Grand Canyon closes as part of fed shutdown

PHOENIX — Tourists who planned a visit to the Grand Canyon this week may have to find alternate plans.

A government shutdown means Arizona’s 22 national parks and monuments are closed until the budget gets figured out. Even the National Park website is down.

It’s the same story at other landmarks across the country, including the Statue of Liberty and the Smithsonian in Washington.

Employees at the Grand Canyon were told Tuesday they have four hours to secure their files and property, and leave a voicemail saying they’ll be out of the office indefinitely.

“We will begin with closing our roadways and advising visitors coming into the park that the park is closed,” said Maureen Oltrogge, a spokeswoman for the park.

Visitors already in the park will be notified they have 48 hours to leave. That includes campgrounds and hotels.
About 18,000 tourists visit the park every day in October. Annually, the Grand Canyon is responsible for over $467 million to local economies, and supports over 7,300 jobs, according to Oltrogge.

With the shutdown, the National Park Service expected to lose about $450,000 a day through entrance fees, backcountry permits, boat rentals and other sales.

In other parks news, Tuesday is the 123rd anniversary of Yosemite National Park in California. Google celebrated with a doodle.

Associated Press contributed to this article.