Mariposa sees increase in visitors due to Washburn Fire

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ByNic Garcia via KFSN logo
Monday, July 18, 2022
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Highway 41 south of Yosemite National Park remains closed to visitors. That is sending many tourists to Mariposa, on the park's west side.

MARIPOSA, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Sunday morning, Wawona welcomed home residents who had been evacuated since shortly after the Washburn Fire broke out more than a week ago.

Smoke still fills the sky around the small community, but officials say it's safe for people who live there or own property in the area to return with an escort.

Highway 41 south of Yosemite remains closed to all other visitors though - forcing tourists to find another way into the park. That is sending many of them to Mariposa, on the park's west side.

"We love having tourists, we love having people from all over the world. When you live in a small town, it makes your world seem bigger when you get to meet people from all over the place," said Rosalynn Pyle.

Pyle owns The Grove House just off Highway 140 in Mariposa.

She says she has noticed a slight increase in business this past week as more people are heading to Yosemite go that way.

Jay Dettlaff is visiting from Cedarburg, Wisconsin. His reservation to camp in Wawona was cancelled a few days ago.

"We've got a big problem here and then we thought 'Holy cow, we've made this big effort to get here and we're not even going to get in to where we're staying," said Dettlaff.

Mariposa boasts a short 45-minute drive to the park entrance.

The location is convenient for tourists like Jay, but local business owners hope this will help draw even visitors their way in the future.

"We want people to want to be in Mariposa and not just pass through town to get to Yosemite," said Pyle.