Tuesday, the first day of the U.S. government shutdown, National Park Rangers across the country gave visitors 48 hours to vacate federal lands: National Parks, National Forest and BLM land.
Rangers in Yosemite blasted a loudspeaker at El Capitan, TouchstoneClimbing.com reported, “Government shutdown. Yosemite National Park will be closed to recreating.” Through traffic in Yosemite will still be allowed, the website also said, but “barricades and traffic cones are at the pull outs…. Even employees are not supposed to be recreating.” All activities on park grounds are considered illegal.
One local Yosemite climber we spoke with explained, “The rangers let people start up El Cap [on Thursday], but no more.” He said, “Today I hid in the back of a friend’s car then jumped out and ran up the Four Mile Trail…. I ended up making an illegal free solo linkup of the Steck-Salathe on Sentinel Rock and the NEB (Northeast Buttress) on Higher Cathedral Rock.”
Today, Stacey Powells, director of the California radio stations KMMT and KRHV, is promoting an Occupy Yosemite event. Protesters will enter the park through Tioga Pass and head to Tuolumne Meadows. All protesters risk citation.
The Access Fund issued this statement: “Some public lands and trails that do not require staff may remain open for the duration of the shutdown, though without rangers or amenities. Staff will not be on duty and amenities, including campgrounds, will be closed. Bathrooms will be locked and water has been cut off in many scenic areas and campgrounds.”
According to the National Park Conservation Association, in month of October, National Parks typically see about 750,000 visitors and contribute roughly $30 million dollars to local economies.
October 14 Update:
As of October 12, Rocky Mountain National park has temporarily reopened its gates to the tune of $40,000 per day. The park is currently operating on funds appropriated from Colorado’s tourism budget. The governor’s office stated that they may ultimately seek reimbursement for these funds.
“The economic impact of closing Rocky Mountain National Park has been extremely tough on Estes Park and Grand Lake, local businesses, neighbors, and partners, particularly after the historic floods on the east side of the park and surrounding communities,” park officials said in a statement. Locals predict that the park’s reopening will provide benefit to the local tourist economy. Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park and Horseshoe Park are all open, with Trail Ridge Road opening as soon as it can be plowed.