YOSEMITE — As we head into the first full day of the government shutdown, employees in Yosemite National Park are busy implementing the guidelines set out by the Department of the Interior as to how the Park will operate going forward.
The gates are open, but there is no National Park Service (NPS) staff on duty for the most part. All have been furloughed except for essential personnel.
“People can come into the park, but there is no one at the entrance stations to provide information, maps and guidance,” says Park Ranger and media spokesperson Scott Gediman. “The visitors centers are closed in Wawona and the Valley, and all the services generally provided by the NPS are not available. NPS restroom facilities are closed, as there is no staff for maintenance.”
There are law enforcement rangers on duty and emergency medical response personnel, however visitors should expect that there may be longer response times.
Most campgrounds have already been closed for the season, and the ones that normally remain open will have no restroom facilities available. Also, reservations will not be honored as there will be no NPS staff available for people to check into a campsite. You may show up and find someone else in your camp spot, and find yourself with no recourse.
Campgrounds that are open include Wawona, Upper Pines, Camp 4, and Hodgdon Meadow. None will have toilet facilities available, and all will be first come – first served.
Hotels and restaurants operated by Yosemite concessionaire Aramark will remain open, and shuttle busses are running.
Park employees received guidelines this morning as to how things will operate during the government shutdown, and have been posting signs and preparing for the days ahead.
“We take great pride in providing visitor services, and protecting park resources and visitors,” says Gediman. “This is not the way we would optimally like to run the park, but we will be following the guidelines given, and doing what we need to do. We can only expend federal money on things tied to health, life and safety. It’s certainly a challenge, and we’re taking it day by day.”