Bryce Canyon reopens and ‘everyone is much happier;’ STGnews Videocast, Photo Gallery

UPDATED Oct. 12, 2013: Videocast included: Barriers removed, gate opens, visitors come, Ruby’s Inn resort general manager gives welcome and forecast for the remainder of the season.

GARFIELD COUNTYBryce Canyon National Park opened Friday afternoon after 10 days of being closed to the public as a result of the shutdown of the federal government. Cars lined up for nearly two miles as eager visitors waited for the gates to open up.

One visitor said he had been in line for nearly four hours waiting to get into the park. There were tour buses and everything, he said, and once the park rangers removed the barricades at the park entrance at 3 p.m., people began honking their car horns and cheering.

“We’re relieved we can get back to business as normal and that we can make our customers happy, because that is what we are in the business of doing,” said Lance Syrett, the general manager of Best Western Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon City.

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Videocast by Shane Brinkerhoff, production by Michael Flynn, St. George News

Syrett said the last 10 days have been frustrating because of the shutdown, especially when having to tell people they couldn’t enter the park due to the shutdown, guests who had been planning for a longtime to see the national park.

Now that Bryce is reopen, Syrett said there’s a concentrated effort taking place over social media and news outlets to bring people back.

“Just the park being open is going to make a huge difference to our business and businesses in the area,” Syrett said.

Most park facilities were reopened to the public on Friday, including viewpoints, campgrounds, and scenic drives.  Some hiking trails that had been covered by rockslides during the shutdown will be inaccessible until the park staff has a chance to clear them of debris. Normal park operations will begin Saturday.

Motels and cabins are also taking reservations and, at this time, have many vacancies. The Lodge dining room will open Saturday along with the Campers Store.

Campsite reservations for Oct. 12 and beyond for the park will also be honored.

One Ruby’s Inn employee said that while business is slowly beginning to pick up – Bryce Canyon having been open for only a few hours at this point, he said – “Everyone is much happier.”

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Ed. note: Technical difficulties arose with a videocast posted earlier this evening. It will be re-posted separately when available.

Micheal Flynn and Shane Brinkhoff contributed to this story.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • Joanna October 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Well if the federal government is totally incompetent at least the states themselves can make something happen.

  • Tom October 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    The states should take over all federal lands as originally decided…so many years ago

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