Government shutdown closes Yosemite National Park

September 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The government shut down means Yosemite and other national parks will be closed until a new budget is passed.

Tourists who traveled Yosemite National Park from all over the world are wondering what will happen to their vacation. Many have already paid for tours that are cancelled since these gates will let very few people through, until the government starts up again.

The Clark-Moore family from San Jose set up camp for the night Monday, knowing they won't be able to stay for the length of their five day reservation. "Bummer, bummer that our government can't get it together, enough, this is just a recreational thing it interferes with. I think about all the people who have much more serious situations," said Laura Clark-Moore.

All non-essential workers in Yosemite will be furloughed until a new budget is passed in Washington, D.C. Law enforcement and utility crews will still be on-the-clock. Campsites, and places like the Wawona Hotel will also shut down.

Officials say park visitors will be given 48 hours to leave now that Yosemite is closed.

Arnie Benton hopes to camp in the park until Wednesday. "We had breakfast at the Ahwahnee hotel this morning," said Benton of Emeryville. "Our waiter was talking about it, joking that he might be off the next few days depending on how the shutdown shakes out."

The closure comes at a slow time for the park. October sees an average of 325,000 visitors, about 9 percent of yearly totals.

Grace and Jerry Bird are visiting the park from Boston, Massachusetts. They're not too worried about losing their $75 tour reservations they're more concerned for international visitors. "I don't know how easy it is to understand how our government can just say I'm sorry we're shutting down," Grace said.

"But it's too bad, because we've run into people from all over the world here in the last day," Jerry added. "For that, if you came all the way from Japan or Germany, that would be a shame."

Signs will soon be posted around the Yosemite Valley to warn visitors they have less than two days to leave. The only people who will be let into the park will be those driving through to another destination.

There may be a chance for tourists to be refunded for their cancelled vacations. Park officials say how that will work is still unclear.


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