Yosemite reopens following government shutdown

Hundreds of national parks are preparing to open when the government shutdown ends, including Yosemite.
October 16, 2013 9:59:49 PM PDT
Yosemite National Park has reopened and is ready for visitors as the government shutdown comes to an end. Staff members and tourists say it can't happen soon enough.

Visitors will immediately be allowed to enter and nearly 700 furloughed park service employees will come back to work.

"We have a lot of employees who live here in Yosemite Valley or just outside the park, so folks were asked not to go very far, and we're just very excited," Yosemite spokesperson Scott Gediman said.

The company that operates many of the facilities inside Yosemite is also preparing to bring back 1,100 employees who have been without jobs for more than two weeks.

"The employees love Yosemite; we miss our guests, and we're just really looking forward to welcoming everyone back," Delaware North Companies spokesperson Lisa Cesaro said.

Officials say Curry Village could open right away and all of the campgrounds and hotels should be ready for visitors within 24 hours of the reopening. But some dining services could take an extra day or two because food must be shipped into the park.

"We have been having those conversations with our vendors in advance, but there's still a transition of reopening, and it will be a phased approach to reopening," Cesaro said.

Staff members know time is of the essence because the shutdown has already forced tourists from around the world to cancel or change their plans.

Park officials are expecting a busy weekend if the shutdown ends by Thursday. That would also be good news for the surrounding communities, which are losing an estimated $1 million each day in tourism money.