Yosemite Valley visitors not affected by Rim Fire

August 27, 2013 12:09:19 PM PDT
The serene setting in Yosemite Valley is a stark contrast to the fire raging about 20 miles away on the northern edge of the park. Visitors in this area say the conditions are still picture perfect.

Melissa Raftery, a tourist from New Jersey says, "I'm taking some beautiful pictures. I got one reflection picture last night with the sunset in the water, so we wouldn't be able to get those pictures if we didn't have a clear day."

To put in perspective, Yosemite is the size of Rhode Island, and rangers say only about three percent of the park is affected by the fire.

Yosemite Spokesperson, Kari Cobb, says, "These areas are in wilderness , and that is the least visited part of the park this time of year so as far as effectively visitor services and operations within the park, it's a relatively small impact to the larger park itself."

Officials say some people have canceled reservations because of misperceptions about the fire, but the biggest impact is the closure of Highway 120. Tourists from the San Francisco and Sacramento areas now have to add about 30 minutes to their trip by taking Highway 140 through Mariposa instead.

"We're seeing quite a bit more traffic than we normally do at this time of year because of the closure of 120," said Julie Hadean with the Yosemite/Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

The Mariposa Visitor Center is staying busy helping people adjust their itineraries and find different lodging options if necessary.

Ka Lau, a tourist from Santa Clara says, "I originally planned to cabin at Groveland, but when I went online they said the whole place was evacuated. So that's when we really to change up our plans."

Hotels in Mariposa County have had some cancellations but are quickly filling them with other tourists and fire crews.

Ceslie Brandon, the General Manager of the Miner's Inn says, "Several firefighter groups have been staying with us over the last 5 or 6 days, and as long as we have rooms available we will accommodate them."

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