YOSEMITE — With the failure of U.S. congressional leaders to reach an agreement and stop a government shutdown, the situation in Yosemite National Park remains unclear.
Despite dozens of phone calls, emails and texts to Park officials in Yosemite throughout the day, no one has yet responded to our repeated requests for detailed information on closures and services, or the lack thereof.
In a statement released today, Tom McClintock, congressman from California’s 4th District, said this about what visitors to Yosemite can expect:
“I have received assurances from the Secretary of the Interior that… entrances to the parks will remain open and businesses within the parks may continue to operate under contingency plans now being finalized with the Park Service. The medical clinic at Yosemite Valley will remain open and public safety personnel will remain on duty. Reservations will continue to be honored at concession venues and the parks will be administered with the objective of causing the least inconvenience and discomfort to park visitors.”
We will continue to try to get specific details on Park closures, and post immediately upon receiving official word from Yosemite. Until then, we refer potential visitors to the National Park Service Contingency Plan, posted on the Department of the Interior’s website in January 2018:
Effective immediately upon a lapse in appropriations, the National Park Service will take all necessary steps to suspend all activities and secure national park facilities that operate using appropriations that are now lapsed, except for those that are essential to respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.
Parks must notify visitors that the NPS will cease providing visitor services, including restrooms, trash collection, facilities and roads maintenance (including plowing), campground reservation and check-in/check-out services, backcountry and other permits, and public information.
National and regional offices and support centers will be closed and secured, except where they are needed to support excepted personnel. These steps will be diligently carried out while still ensuring visitor and employee safety as well as the integrity of park resources.
Once the shutdown is initiated employees should proceed with shutdown activities, including notifying the public of the cessation of operations and securing government records and property.
Non-excepted employees will generally have 4 hours to complete their shutdown activities before entering furlough status.
The entire closure process will be completed as expeditiously as possible: operations and staffing numbers are expected to be at the minimum levels defined below within two days.
To read the entire NPS Contingency Plan, click here.
The main phone number for the Park is 209-372-0200. (This is an automated menu, so don’t expect to be able to speak to a live person).
For other Interior Department shutdown information, visit https://www.doi.gov/shutdown.