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

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid