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Yosemite’s concessionaire hopeful hospitality services will remain open if shutdown occurs

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Yosemite National Park’s concessionaire was hopeful that hospitality services – including restaurants, lodges, stores, and an ice rink and free shuttle service in Yosemite Valley – would remain open if the federal government shuts down early Saturday.

Yosemite Hospitality, a subsidiary of the concessionaire, Aramark, was working on an agreement with Park Service staff Friday evening. 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.

If 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.”

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.

Officials in Yosemite and Sequoia & Kings Canyon were still hammering out plans Friday evening for a possible shutdown and could not provide more information.

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.”

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