Yosemite celebrates birthday by shutting down
October 1, 2013
Yosemite National Park celebrated its 123rd birthday Tuesday by closing its gates due to a federal government shutdown. [LA Times]
The U.S. House and Representatives and Senate failed to agree Monday night on how to renew funding of the federal government. The dispute, which centered around the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, caused nonessential services across the country to shut down Tuesday.
As with all 401 national parks, 26 of which are located in California, Yosemite began to close Tuesday.
“Anyone who’s hoping to arrive, even for a day visit, would see gates closed and would be turned away,” said National Parks Service spokesman Mike Litterst.
Park employees are allowing visitors already staying in campgrounds or lodges 48 hours to make other arrangements and leave.
Despite the closure, Yosemite received a birthday acknowledgement from Google, which changed its website icon Tuesday to a Yosemite tribute.
Nationwide, the park service employs 23,000 people. Twenty thousand of the employees will be furloughed during the shutdown.
President Barack Obama issued a statement to all federal government employees Tuesday, stating the shutdown should never have happened.
“None of this is fair to you,” Obama said. “And should it continue, it will make it more difficult to keep attracting the kind of driven, patriotic, idealistic Americans to public service that our citizens deserve and that our system of self-government demands.”
The last government shutdown lasted for 28 days in 1995. It, too, occurred when a Republican controlled House sparred with a Democratic president. Nearly twice as many people blamed the 1995 shutdown on the Republicans than on President Bill Clinton, according to a CBS/New York Times poll.