Budget shutdown could affect Bay Area's national parks, monuments, people

Saturday, January 20, 2018
Budget shutdown could affect Bay Area's national parks, monuments, people
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The federal government shutdown could affect the Bay Area's national parks and monuments.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Pier 33 in San Francisco, what may be the last tour boat for Alcatraz left at mid-afternoon. Its passengers will return to an uncertain world -- one hanging and hinging on the federal government and, at Alcatraz Landing, the National Park Service.

"They haven't said anything officially and told us to wait for word," said Antonette Sespene, director of Sales and Marketing for Alctraz Landing. The company is a National Park franchisee, and with parks potentially closing tomorrow, now what? Tickets are already sold out.

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We tried explaining the impasse to a Gillian Willshire from Scotland. "San Francisco is the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz," she told us. "In between, I have spent a fortune in the shops, cafes and restaurants. You close down Alcatraz, you close down San Francisco."

The National Park Service has yet to say, specifically, whether it will close any or all facilities because of a shutdown. That leaves Alcatraz Landing hanging. "It just seems like they want to go after the little guys here," said a pedicab driver named Jo. "Do they still have money for the ICE raids? That would be ironic."

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At Muir Woods, tour guide Barbara Dimas remembered surviving the 13-day shutdown in 2013. She has no desire to become collateral damage again. "We just hope it wouldn't last very long. It affects income for sure."

There is one interesting advantage to visiting national parks on a day like this. Our available opinion demographic expands well beyond the San Francisco Bay Area.

Joe Parker from Oklahoma had plenty to say. "It seems like elected officials are not worried about those of us who are citizens for the sake of those who are not citizens. They are not doing their jobs. I would be fired for not doing my job. These trees have been here since before this country was born and they are going to be closed for political gamesmanship?"

We're awaiting word, sitting on proverbial pins and pine needles.

Click here for more stories related to the government shutdown.

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