Government shutdown update: Business leaders protest closure of Grand Canyon amid shutdown

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, AZ - Arizona business owners and residents gathered outside the gates of the Grand Canyon National Park Tuesday to protest the federal government's rejection of funding requests to partially reopen the park.

Since the federal government shutdown one week ago, nearly 2,200 employees at the Grand Canyon were furloughed, ordered to go return home without pay.

Officials said 478 employees are considered federal employees and will receive back pay, thanks to a measure that was passed by Congressional leaders this week.

However, for the remaining employees, they say they're missing out on much-needed paychecks.

Protesters gathered around 1 p.m. near the ADOT right-of-way south of the National Parks' South Rim entrance.

The Town of Tusayan and local businesses were able to raise $400,000 in efforts to partially reopen the park. Business leaders have said that due to the park's closure they're losing valuable money every day.

Governor Jan Brewer submitted a proposal to fund the reopening of the state's signature national park , however, park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga rejected the offer saying "it's not an offer we can accept."

St. Mary's Food Bank said they were delivering over 600 food boxes to furloughed workers Tuesday.

ABC15's Navideh Forghani is near the Grand Canyon to cover the protest. Watch her story tonight on ABC15 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.


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