Yosemite turning away visitors on 123rd birthday

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 1, 2013 7:14:06 PM PDT
It was Yosemite National Park's 123rd birthday Tuesday, but the world famous park known for its breathtaking views won't be celebrating this year because the park is essentially closed for business due to the government shutdown.

Closed signs are now in place at the entrance to Yosemite. Only drivers passing through to other destinations or those who have reservations for the next two nights are allowed in and all visitors will have to pack up leave by Thursday afternoon.

Taz Boudreau brought her sons all the way from South America to see the iconic sights that are now off limits.

"It's terrible because we don't have a lot of opportunity to come here; we are from Chile so it's kind of hard to do this trip," Boudreau said.

The park is eerily quiet with few tourists and 660 workers on furlough until a spending plan is passed. Neighboring communities, including Mariposa, are also concerned about the economic impact. The National Park Service says visitors spend $76 million a day in areas near national parks. Local business owners are already preparing for the worst.

"I'll do a lot of gem and mineral shows and craft shows if I have to and try to expand the website," Yosemite Gifts owner Su Carney said. "The problem is the employees. I'll have to cut their hours and work myself, so it's going to hurt a whole chain."