National Parks' Plans To Reopen After The Shutdown Don't All Look The Same

by Caitlin Cruz
Mario Tama/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The government shutdown is finally over, but the question of when will all the national parks reopen remains up in the air. That's because the National Park Service is reopening parks on a rolling basis, according to The Associated Press.

Among those that reopened on Saturday were the Virgin Islands National Park, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the Wright Brothers National Memorial, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, according to The Associated Press. A statement from the Grand Canyon National Park said it will reopen this coming week. "We're certainly grateful that all of our dedicated rangers and park service staff are back at work," National Park Service chief spokesman Mike Litterst told The Associated Press.

If you're wondering when one park in particular will open its doors back up, the National Park Service said contacting individual parks is the best way to get up-to-date information. National Park Services' Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith released a statement Friday saying,

Following the enactment of the continuing resolution, the National Park Service is preparing to resume regular operations nationwide though the schedule for individual parks may vary depending on staff size and complexity of operations. Many parks which have been accessible throughout the lapse in appropriations remain accessible with basic services. Some parks which have been closed throughout the lapse in appropriations may not reopen immediately, but we will work to open all parks as quickly as possible.

The Grand Canyon National Park thanked the state of Arizona and the Grand Canyon Conservancy for the donations to help the park provide limited services during the longest shutdown in government history. "Grand Canyon National Park appreciates the partnerships we have with Governor Ducey, the State of Arizona, Arizona State Parks and Trails, Grand Canyon Conservancy, and the northern Arizona community. The protection of Grand Canyon’s natural and cultural resources is our shared responsibility and a commitment to every American, every visitor, every day," deputy superintendent Lisa Carrico said in a statement announcing the park's reopening.

KOLD — the CBS affiliate in Tucson — reported in mid-January that the state of Arizona gave funds to help clean the restrooms at the park, collect trash, and remove snow. This allowed the park, which is partially closed due to snow every year, allow patrons to still see the South Rim, which is open year around.

Grand Canyon Incident Commander Matt Vandzura also thanked the town of Tusayan. "We also need to extend our gratitude to our in-park business partners and neighbors in the town of Tusayan for providing support to our employees and community," Vandzura said. "We are a compassionate, connected community and together we showed our strength during the shutdown."

All the way on the other side of the country, most of the Smithsonian museums (including tourist favorites Air And Space Museum and the Natural History Museum) will reopen on Tuesday. The Renwick Gallery — which is a separate part of Smithsonian American Art Museum "for contemporary craft and decorative art" — will reopen on Feb. 2.

The Smithsonian complex reopening also means the National Zoo will be open again; it might be time to visit.