Temporary contract at Grand Canyon's South Rim would avert shutdown of hotels, restaurants

Grand Canyon officials say hotels, mule rides and restaurants at the South Rim will remain open to millions of visitors once they award a temporary concessions contract.

A new 15-year contract worth up to $1 billion for services at the South Rim is up for bid for a third time after previous bids didn't meet the park's terms. That contract won't be awarded before the current one expires on Dec. 31.

Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga says a temporary contract can be awarded to any concessions company for up to a year to fill the gap.

The current vendor, Xanterra Parks & Resorts, has reached its limit on extensions. It has notified nearly 980 employees that they could be laid off if the company doesn't get a new contract.