News / USA

US Tourist Towns Assess Shutdown Damage

US Tourist Towns Assess Damage From Shutdowni
X
October 16, 2013 11:24 PM
Tourist communities near U.S. national parks have been hurt by the partial government shutdown. In Mariposa, California, near Yosemite National Park, residents hope the shutdown of the past two weeks will not be repeated. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports on the situation.
Related video report by Mike O'Sullivan
Mike O'Sullivan
Tourist communities near U.S. national parks have been hurt by the partial government shutdown. In Mariposa, California, near Yosemite National Park, residents hope the shutdown of the past two weeks will not be repeated.

At a coffee shop near the edge of town, customer Dan Palo waits for his morning coffee. He is a regular here and he said this coffee shop lost a lot of business.

“Actually, the town has been dead. There is hardly anyone here," he said. "I usually come in here and have to wait 30 minutes for my coffee because it is full of tourists waiting to go into the park.”

The town was mostly left to the local residents and a handful of  tourists, when Yosemite National Park closed in the government shutdown October 1. Other national parks and some federal monuments later re-opened with temporary funding from state governments, including New York's landmark Statue of Liberty.

But California officials refused to intervene.

At a resort that is whimsically called the "Yosemite Bug" in nearby Midpines, California, co-owner Douglas Shaw said the shutdown left most rooms empty.

“We are running about five percent of normal, and we let go of about 70 percent of our staff,” he said.

He added that business in his restaurant slowed to a trickle.

An Australian family is finishing breakfast in an empty dining hall, and visitor Ghiselle Lawler says it is hard to understand how a major national park could close its gates.

“People are coming to your country willing to spend money and look at things," said Lawler. "The last thing you should be shutting is your parks.”

The losses are hard to assess. Mariposa county supervisor Kevin Cann said the shutdown cost local hotels $2 million per week in lost business, and the county government loses another $200,000 a week in taxes on that income. He said losses to restaurants, shops and other businesses make conditions even worse.

“We feel we are being held hostage in places like this, in all of the gateway communities around any federal area," he said. "We are being held hostage by Congress's inability to do their job.”

Cann said this community has dealt with many kinds of hazards.

“Floods, fires, rock falls," he said. "We have contingency plans for all of those. We do not have a very good contingency plan for a government shutdown.”

Coffee shop owner Bret Ticehurst said the mood around Yosemite has been bleak. “There is just massive frustration in town, from everybody's perspective, I guess,” he said.

Hotel owner Shaw said he does not think Congress should have the power to close the federal government, which he said provides needed services. And he has a question.

“Is this shutdown going to happen every six months? Is it going to happen every year?” he asks.

The people near Yosemite National Park say they hope not.

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid