Winter is coming up faster than those across the Grand Canyon National Park might like to admit. After all, the premiere season throughout the Grand Canyon is the summer. However, this means the approaching season brings the closure of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. This year, the closure takes place on October 15th.
On this day, rangers and other park workers will get together to prep the lobby and set out the official signs. Rooms will be winterized and services such as food, ranger programs, and mule rides will cease until May 15th. That is the date that officials agree surpasses any winter danger that could arise.
There are a few reasons for taking this action at a time that many consider extremely early. Of course, the threat of snow and other harrowing weather conditions is a factor. However, the main and consistent concern is the low temperatures. Since the pipes are not buried far underground, they are especially susceptible to freezing. To greatly mitigate this threat, the Grand Canyon National Park closes most of the park early, so it does not become a problem.
Although, the entirety of the park does not close. The entry station, the campground, and the visitor center remain open and available until the end of October. For the following month, until December 1st, weather permitting, day trips are permitted from dawn until dusk.
For a few years, officials have thought about keeping the park fully operational until later in the season. The multiple mild winters in succession have added fuel to the cause. The many supporters of this motion wish to have more time to enjoy their beautiful National Park. Officials understand that, and they are open to the idea. After all, many people directly involved with the park want to see it stay open for as long as possible. However, the safety of the visitors and the infrastructure of the park need to be proven.
Right now, officials say that there is still not enough evidence that the park would be able to function properly. Hopefully, one day, extending the season, or abolishing the closure all together will be an option. For now, though, park officials continue to contemplate a viable solution.