Grand Canyon closed: Visitors hit Grand Canyon amid shutdown, rafters await good news

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ - People from around the country are holding out hope that they can enjoy trips to the Grand Canyon despite a federal shutdown affecting all national parks.

Several travelers on Tuesday were able to bypass the entrance gates to the Grand Canyon as the road itself cannot be closed, however, they were being instructed not to stop and take pictures as they drove around the national park.

ABC15 crews found that several visitors were not letting those instructions dampen their sightseeing, as they stopped inside the park for photos and others even moved traffic cones to get access to more desirable areas.

More than 30 adventurers hoping to launch rafts on the Colorado River were also feeling the effects of the shutdown, unable to get close to the water Tuesday, and seemingly losing out on a Wednesday launch as well.

Both groups with 16 people each are camped out at a lodge near Lees Ferry in northern Arizona to see if the government resumes operations.

Getting a permit for the coveted self-guided trips isn't always an easy task.

One trip leader applied for a permit in 1995 and got one last year. The other secured his last year through a lottery system.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Maureen Oltrogge says the trips won't be allowed to launch retroactively. She says the park has made no decision on refunds or rescheduling.

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