YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS13) — Yosemite National Park reopened to visitor for the first time since the government shutdown began more than two weeks ago.
Following Wednesday’s last-minute vote by to avoid Congress to lift the shutdown, none of Yosemite’s hotels are full for this upcoming weekend.
Normally the park gets about 10,000 visitors a day this time of the year. Employees believe it’ll take some time to get back to those numbers.
A group of tourists from the United Kingdom had their trip to Yosemite planned long before their journey to California. They arrived when the shutdown was still in effect.
“We were fingers-crossed the whole time,” said Ross Smith. “And it turns out, from today, Yosemite’s open. So that’s brilliant.”
Adding to the troubles for the region, the shutdown came less than a month after the Rim Fire wiped out a normally busy Labor Day weekend.
For businesses around Yosemite, like Dori’s Tea Cottage and Cafe in Groveland, it’s been a one-two punch.
“Someone said it’s like going from a tragedy to a travesty. We went from one extreme condition to another, and it has just crumpled our business.”
A sign at a local gas station echoed those sentiments, reading, “Thanks firemen for saving our town. Thanks government for shutting it down.”
But now, politics and a broken bureaucracy are taking a backseat to visitors beaming at the beauty of Yosemite in the fall.