The National Park Service Shut Down Fee Proposal to the Relief of Grand Canyon Business Owners

The Grand Canyon is filled with a host of small businesses that make the Grand Canyon experience extra special for visitors. These outfitters draw in over 19,000 visitors per year and are nearly sold out on every run. The trip can be up to 280 miles through the canyon, with visitors sleeping on the beaches that run along the riverbank.

These trips cost between $1,000 and $6,000 per person, per trip, depending on the vessel and the length of the voyage. Already, small business outfitters bring in over 5.3 million dollars. However, earlier in 2018 a proposal suggested raising the percentage of fees significantly.

Currently, the fees range from four and eighteen percent. Yet, the proposed contract upped the fees to a range of five and over twenty-two percent. The fee increases, coupled with the recent minimum wage increase in Arizona had businesses worrying over their future.

Small businesses understand that it is necessary to pay fees. Plus, they are thankful to have the ability to host their business on such a well-known public land. However, the fee increases would force the price of excursions to go up significantly. The last thing businesses want to do is make the trips unaffordable. Yet, such a steep rise in fees would press the tours to a possible breaking point.

Thankfully, there was enough of a pushback from the public and the current contract-holders that the terms were thrown out. Now, all current contracts are renewed until December 31, 2019, and a new contract will be proposed next year. This will hopefully help both the Grand Canyon and the business owners equally.

Both sides are hopeful a new contract can be negotiated successfully by the time the current term runs out. If it is, there will not be any interruption of the services currently provided. An interruption of service would be more than the loss of significant money for both parties. It will disrupt the whole system of rafting the Grand Canyon. This is not something either side wants. Therefore, it is extremely possible that a new contract will be agreed upon in the coming year.