Campers officially pushed out National Parks

October 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The deadline has passed for campers and other visitors in our national parks. Because of the government shutdown, rangers forced everyone out Thursday at 3:00pm.

Hans Luthi and his family are driving through Central California all the way from Switzerland. Action News caught up with them near Sequoia Lake along Highway 180 after they were forced out of Kings Canyon National Park.

"I think it's a big shame for the United States actually," said Luthi. "I think it's a bad image, actually, for everybody."

That bad image on display near the park entrance, where electronic signs point out the government shut down for why all visitors are not currently allowed inside.

"You can just see it, people look devastated today," said Diane Cary from San Diego. She spent the past two weeks in the park camping with her RV.

Cary says when rangers closed the gates to park campsites and roped off areas like Grant Grove Village they were nice about it. But, campers are upset about leaving.

"They were just shaking their heads, they couldn't believe the government had gone this far," she said. "We're all in shock over it. It's more drama."

The shutdown is having a big impact along the south entrance to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Several hotels and restaurants in Three Rivers say they've already lost thousands of dollars from tourists who are cancelling reservations.

"Just yesterday alone we had somewhere in the neighborhood of 14, 15 cancellations for total rooms of over 40 rooms," said Dennis Villavicencio of the Elks Tree Lodge.

As the Luthis head off to Arizona and Colorado they, like many Americans, hope government funding returns soon.

"It's our holiday so we have to enjoy it, even with some issues like this," he said. "So we are not going back to Switzerland tomorrow, we'll stay for another two and half weeks."


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