Grand Canyon closure diverts tourists to Arizona's other gems

Posted: Updated:
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

WILLIAMS, Ariz.--- Some Northern Arizona businesses are reporting surges in tourism, following the closure of the Grand Canyon.

Tour guides are diverting tourists from around the world to other state attractions.

Bearizona, in Williams, saw a 70 percent rise in visitors the first day of the government shutdown, and a 50 percent rise the second day.

The Hualapi Tribe's Grand Canyon West, including its famous Skywalk, saw a 26 percent increase in tourists this week.

The Navajo Nation reports a rise in tourists at its tribal parks, and in Monument Valley.

Sedona is also seeing more tourists, presumably those who are shut out of the Grand Canyon.

"Sedona's views cannot be shut down," Jennifer Wesselhoff, President of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, told 3TV.
Despite the boost in business, Wesselhoff and Sean Casey, who owns Bearizona, are concerned about the Grand Canyon's closure.  

Many tourists who go to the Grand Canyon also stop by Bearizona, or drive down to Sedona.

"This time of year, more than half are foreign tourists. We don't want them to go home as ambassadors and tell them they were disappointed," Casey said.

Here is important information for anyone heading to the Sedona area, courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.

The following sites are CLOSED as of  Oct. 4:
-All National Parks and Monuments
-Montezuma Castle, Montezuma Well, and Tuzigoot
-Palatki and V-V Petroglyph Site
-Red Rock Ranger Station Visitor Center in VOC
-Bootlegger Picnic Area
-Banjo Bill Picnic Area
-Encinoso Picnic Area
-Halfway Picnic Area
-Jim Thompson / Jordan Trailhead parking

All USFS public toilets have been closed and locked and the Red Rock Pass kiosk fee machines have been de-activated. At this point, the Chamber of Commerce has suspended the sales of the Red Rock Passes, as they require that all amenities be present in to order to be legally enforceable. It is important to note that all trails are open and parking lots are open, (except the parking facility at Jim Thompson/Jordan Road trailhead, which is gated). While the Jordan trails are open, parking is not available.

The following sites are OPEN as of Oct 4:
-Honanki Heritage Site
-All trailheads in the Red Rock Ranger District (except Jim Thompson/Jordan Road trailhead)
-All USFS campgrounds are open
-Crescent Moon Ranch/Red Rock Crossing, Grasshopper Point, and West Fork Trail/Call of The Canyon
-All State Parks including Slide Rock State Park and Red Rock State Park