How The U.S. Government Turned Tourist-Trap Yosemite Into Ghost Town


Want to know how avoid crowds at usually congested Yosemite National Park? Wait for the United States government to shut down, wait for the park to close and dream about having Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and the winding waters of the Merced River to yourself.The Associated Press had a report from a writer who happened to be one of the few “lucky” tourists who were in Yosemite when it was about to have her gates locked.  From AP writer Tammy Webber:

By Tuesday morning, everyone awoke to learn that the government, indeed, had shut down. But the park hadn’t quite yet. Those with reservations in the park, like us, would have 48 hours to get out. We decided to make the most of it and drive to Glacier Point and do a long hike. But too late: The road to Glacier Point already was closed. Cars pulled in and stopped. People got out and started talking to each other.

A couple from Belgium were on the last stop of a three-week tour of the American West. They’d seen Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon and now they wanted to see Yosemite. A young girl from South Korea told me she’d come with her mother and aunt, getting up at 5 a.m. and driving all the way from San Francisco Tuesday morning. She wasn’t supposed to get into the park, but she said nobody stopped them at the entrance. They made a short loop around the valley floor, then were heading back out — bitterly disappointed.

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Bitterly disappointed sums up a lot of our opinions on this mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.

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