Alpinist: Climbers respond to government shutdown

From the Alpinist website:

Tuesday, the first day of the U.S. government shutdown, National Park Rangers across the country gave visitors 48 hours to vacate federal lands: National Parks, National Forest and BLM land.

Rangers in Yosemite blasted a loudspeaker at El Capitan, reported, “Government shutdown. Yosemite National Park will be closed to recreating.” Through traffic in Yosemite will still be allowed, the website also said, but “barricades and traffic cones are at the pull outs…. Even employees are not supposed to be recreating.” All activities on park grounds are considered illegal.

One local Yosemite climber we spoke with explained, “The rangers let people start up El Cap [on Thursday], but no more.” He said, “Today I hid in the back of a friend’s car then jumped out and ran up the Four Mile Trail…. I ended up making an illegal free solo linkup of the Steck-Salathe on Sentinel Rock and the NEB (Northeast Buttress) on Higher Cathedral Rock.”

Today, Stacey Powells, director of the California radio stations KMMT and KRHV, is promoting an Occupy Yosemite event. Protesters will enter the park through Tioga Pass and head to Tuolumne Meadows. All protesters risk citation.

The Access Fund issued this statement: “Some public lands and trails that do not require staff may remain open for the duration of the shutdown, though without rangers or amenities. Staff will not be on duty and amenities, including campgrounds, will be closed. Bathrooms will be locked and water has been cut off in many scenic areas and campgrounds.”

Also, from Does Google have the answer to reopening the National Parks?



It’s been a tough week for national parks, thanks to the federal government shutdown. Grand Canyon rafters threatened to rush the blocked gate at Lee’s Ferry. Hundreds of elk were displaced from Rocky Mountain National Park, with nowhere to go but the Estes Park Golf Course in the center of town, where the activities of rutting season (now in full swing) have made playing through awkward. Avalanches on Mt. Rainier came to a screeching halt. Climbers in Yosemite’s Camp 4 showered and left. But even though there’s no sign of compromise from ultra right-wing conservatives in the House of Representatives who caused the shutdown, there’s still good news: The White House has announced that national parks will reopen beginning this Saturday, thanks to a donation from Google.

The deal came together after President Obama met with business leaders to pressure Republicans to drop their opposition to the Affordable Care Act. One of the execs was Google founder Sergey Brin.

“I asked what Google could do to help,” Brin said, “and the president joked, ‘A big fat check would be nice,’ so I pulled out my Capitol One Rewards card and told him to go wild. He’s stoked, the parks will open again, and the miles I’m going get — man!”

The parks will open in two waves — “the cool ones first,” said Brin, “followed by those other ones.” In a show of magnanimity, Yosemite’s waterfalls will be turned back on by Friday evening, as will Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. The Colorado River “might take another day or two” because of its size, he said.

Follow @mountainscallme on Twitter.


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