County and community organizations unite to provide custodial and visitor services
PANGUITCH, Utah (January 8, 2019) — As the partial federal shutdown continues, Garfield County’s
Office of Tourism wants the public to know that Bryce Canyon National Park, one of Utah’s most visited
sites, is still accessible to travelers, though services are limited. The State Tourism Office, the Bryce
Canyon Natural History Association and Garfield County have provided funding and in-kind resources to
keep the visitor’s center open and the parks restrooms and public areas safe, clean and trash-free.
While key parts of the federal government have been impacted since Dec. 22 by the shutdown, Bryce
Canyon is one of the fortunate national parks to remain open. Some national parks are littered with
garbage, have locked restrooms and blocked roads because of piling snow. Bryce Canyon has been able
to avoid this dilemma. This is due to the support of partner organizations who have collaborated to keep
major portions of the park accessible.
Gayle Pollack, director of the nonprofit, Bryce Canyon Natural History Association(NHA), has pledged
$10,000 to underwrite any funding shortfall to keep Bryce Canyon open. The NHA is committed to
supporting the visitor center operations for however long the federal shutdown lasts.
“Don’t cancel your plans if you scheduled a trip to Bryce Canyon from the United States or overseas,”
said Gayle Pollack, director of the Bryce Canyon Natural History Association. “When you come here the
restrooms will be clean, the park will be open and there will be people with smiles to welcome you.”
With no end in sight to the federal shutdown, Garfield County will provide local law enforcement
personnel to maintain order and safety when needed.
“I don’t suspect the park’s closure will be years or months like you hear in the news, but we are in this
for the long haul,” said Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins. “The sheriff’s department pledges support
in the form of equipment to keep the roads free from snow and law enforcement officers to help with
any safety or rescue issues in the park.”
If the shutdown continues, the county says it will work with the State of Utah and regional and county
partners to identify the best solution to keep the park open.
Falyn Owens, the Garfield Tourism Office Executive Director, said she takes hope in Acting Interior
Secretary David Bernhardt’s recent memo sent to the National Park Service (NPS). Bernhardt has
requested that the NPS use funding from entrance fees to pay for rudimentary services — such as trash
pickup, restroom cleaning and patrolling park areas — that have been halted during the budget impasse.
“We want to make sure those that have planned to visit the area still get the opportunity to take in our
incredible Bryce Canyon National Park,” said Owens. “Visitors should be mindful that some areas are
short-staffed. It is important for visitors to try to minimize any impact to the park so we can all enjoy the
natural beauty of Bryce Canyon.”
If you are planning to visit the area please note contingency plans that are being developed to keep the
visitor's center open and some services available. For current information about Bryce Canyon during
the partial government shutdown visit visit.utah.com.
About Garfield County:
Garfield County is located in Southern Utah and provides access to nearly a dozen national/state park
and forest areas, including Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef national parks. Visitors enjoy
epic road trips while exploring Scenic Byways 12 and 143—highways so spectacular they’ve been
recognized by the Federal Highway Administration for their one-of-a-kind features. The area is only an
hour drive from a commercial airport and four hours from either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City. To plan
your own world-class vacation, visit brycecanyoncountry.com or call the Garfield County Tourism Office,