GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is scheduled to be at the Grand Canyon this weekend to highlight the park’s partial reopening after it shuttered temporarily over coronavirus concerns.
The Grand Canyon has been opening intermittently with limited hours and services. Entrance gates at the more popular South Rim will be open from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. until Monday. Visitors, who will have access to some food services, hiking trails and bicycle rentals, are being encouraged to leave around sunset.
Bernhardt is expected to meet with park Superintendent Ed Keable, whom he once worked with at the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor, and park staff. Keable has been at the helm of the Grand Canyon for about two weeks.
Bernhardt has no planned public appearances Saturday.
Park officials said they’re following guidance from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities and monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic while phasing in increased access.
The Grand Canyon’s North Rim, which usually opens in mid-May, remains closed. The park’s East Rim entrance that takes tourists through the Navajo Nation, also is closed.
Bernhardt visited a Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and Petroglyph National Monument on the edges of Albuquerque, New Mexico, during his trip to the Southwest. He also met with and spoke to tribal leaders in New Mexico and Arizona about the coronavirus, water supplies, the economy and access to public lands.
He joined officials in Prescott on Friday to talk about a planned solar power project in La Paz County.
In other Grand Canyon developments:
—The Hualapai Tribe is preparing to open its tourist attractions west of Grand Canyon National Park on June 1. The tribe said it will check the temperatures of tourists at Grand Canyon West, which features a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that juts out of the canyon walls, place hand sanitizer dispensers in key areas and seat fewer people in restaurants. All employees will be tested for COVID-19 before the planned reopening, the tribe said Friday.
Associated Press, The Associated Press