Yosemite National Park preps for Obama visit

EMBED </>More News Videos

Even the park concessionaire is refusing to say a word about the President's visit and what kind of issues it might cause for park visitors on the crowded summer weekend. (KFSN)

Yosemite National Park is getting ready for the first presidential visit in more than half a century.

President Barack Obama and his family are expected in the park next weekend for Father's Day.

The National Park Service is under orders from the White House to keep quiet about the visit.

Even the park concessionaire is refusing to say a word about the President's visit and what kind of issues it might cause for park visitors on the crowded summer weekend.

The last time a presidential helicopter flew into Yosemite National Park was in 1962.

President John F. Kennedy was on board that day and home video shows the President and his motorcade cruising through the park waving at visitors.

The President even stands up in the open car so the crowd can see him.

Paul Tolani of San Francisco just can't believe it's been so long since a President was there to take in the spectacular sites.

"You serious?" he asked. "Nobody else has come since then, wow, kind of hard to believe but I think he's coming to the right place. This is God's country. This is so beautiful."

"It's beyond explanation, beyond description right? I mean, look at the scene behind me can you see anything better than that in your life."

And Sarah Wareing of Texas is glad Obama's coming.

"Of course, definitely, they should see part of their nation that they're in charge of and get a feel for what people are thinking," she said.

The Presidents visit is to help commemorate the park services 100th anniversary and, according to a White House statement, will highlight the Presidents efforts to preserve natural resources and the environment, especially with the effects of climate change.

Climate impact is readily apparent here with millions of trees weakened by the drought and killed by insect infestation turning the green forest orange.

The tree deaths are something Kay Flanagan-Spinelli of Merced is concerned about.

"It's very sad, the drought, in the beetle," Flanagan-Spinelli said. "It's all the way up with many of them out to see her now."

In addition to dead trees, President Obama will see other changes since President Kennedy's visit.

The Awhanee Hotel where Kennedy stayed has been renamed the Majestic Yosemite because of a legal dispute.

Visitors we spoke with hope the President enjoys his trip and Marin Moozhayil of Dallas wishes he was here today.

"Yes, I wish he would have been," she said. "If we could take a selfie together with President Obama."
Related Topics:
newsyosemite national parkbarack obamaYosemite National Park
(Copyright ©2016 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments