Yosemite campers forced to cut trips short

This April 2013 image shows Half Dome, the iconic granite peak in Yosemite National Park in California. Beautiful scenery, from mountain views to waterfalls, is easily accessible to visitors at Yosemite.
October 2, 2013 9:35:14 PM PDT
The last remaining visitors in Yosemite National Park now have less than 24 hours to leave because of the government shutdown. For now, they're making the most of the nearly empty park.

The normally bustling national park is now almost too quiet for comfort.

"It's eerie because it's like a ghost town, and it seems strange.," Clovis resident Dave Kuehl said.

The only visitors left inside Yosemite are those who had reservations before the shutdown and drivers passing through the park. Rangers are turning away many people at the gates, and all campers must be out by Thursday afternoon.

"We drove seven hours from San Diego to be here, so we were planning on staying until Saturday, now we have to leave tomorrow by 3 p.m., so I'm very disappointed with this government.," San Diego resident Manuel Murillo said.

His group has seen many others leave even earlier because most visitor services have been shut down since Tuesday.

"Oh today it's very empty; when we got here they were actually sold out and every single spot around us was full," San Diego resident Elizabeth Cortez said.

The trails and parking lots are now blocked by barricades, but some tourists told us off camera they tore down the yellow tape at Tunnel View in protest. That allowed others to enjoy the iconic scenery in solitude.

"There's nobody here now, and that's unfortunate but it's great for us because we're taking advantage of it," Iowa resident Kelly Gay said.

The animals also seem to be enjoying the lack of crowds.

"The deer probably a little more along the beach than normal and the bobcat, I've never seen one in all the years I've come," San Jose resident Athene Mantle said.

The park's emptiness is exacerbated by the fact 660 of the 800 employees remain on a forced furlough.

The government shutdown is costing the National Park Service $450,000 a day.


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