Yosemite National Park’s hospitality services – including restaurants, lodges, stores, and an ice rink and free shuttle service in Yosemite Valley – are remaining open even though the federal government shut down early Saturday.
Yosemite Hospitality, a subsidiary of the concessionaire, Aramark, was working on an agreement with Park Service staff Friday evening. Aramark spokeswoman Lisa Cesaro said Saturday that services provided by Yosemite Hospitality remain open.
The status of the national parks was caught up in the budget standoff between Senate Democrats and GOP leaders and President Trump. A budget extension was needed by midnight Friday to keep funding the U.S. government.
Because lawmakers failed to pass a federal budget in time, services across the national park system requiring park staffing were expected to be closed. That includes facilities such as campgrounds, full-service restrooms, and gift shops inside visitor centers. Still, park officials said that “national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures.”
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Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, announced that Yosemite would be open regardless of the looming shutdown, reported The Sacramento Bee.
Entrance gates will be open, said Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman.
Delaware North, the concessionaire at numerous national parks, announced Saturday that services would continue to be provided after the National Park Service announced that parks would continue to be accessible.
Delaware North services at Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks include lodging at Wuksachi, John Muir and Cedar Grove lodges and the Grant Grove cabins, food, beverage and retail services.
Access to some Yosemite facilities could prove to be a problem in the event of snow, if park-operated snowplows are needed to clear roads. Snow removal in many parking lots, along with waste removal and recycling, is handled by Yosemite Hospitality, said its marketing manager, Lisa Cesaro.
We are prioritizing access to the most accessible and most iconic areas of parks and public lands.
National Park Service
Across the park system, officials said war memorials and open-air parks should remain open in the event of a shutdown, but some sites and trails may experience restricted access.
“The parks may choose to restrict access to some areas if there is a high risk of avalanche or it’s a common spot for injuries since there will not be a regular patrol of the area,” officials said. “Additionally, sensitive cultural areas on all public land may see restricted access to protect the artifacts and objects.”