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Shutdown: Yosemite closed on its birthday; passport offices open

October 01, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
  • Tourists on Tuesday find the doors to the Museum of American History on the Mall in Washington closed due to the federal government shutdown.
Tourists on Tuesday find the doors to the Museum of American History on the… (Olivier Douliery / MCT )

Congress established Yosemite National Park on Oct. 1, 1890 -- and shut down it down on its birthday Tuesday over the budget standoff. National parks, Smithsonian museums and even World War II overseas cemeteries have been closed because of the government shutdown that began at midnight.

Travelers will still be able to fly because vital services such as air traffic controllers and airport security screeners will remain on the job. But what will you see when you arrive at your destination?

In Washington, the 19 free Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed. Even the popular panda cam that broadcasts from the zoo has been shut off. "None of our live animal cams will broadcast," the zoo's website says. "The cams require federal resources, primarily staff, to run and broadcast. They've been deemed non-essential during the shutdown."

In New York City, the Statue of Liberty, which had been battered by Hurricane Sandy a year ago, closed, as did all parks and historical sites run by the National Park Service.

That means popular parks in the West like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Sequoia/Kings Canyon closed and have sent visitors packing. Still, Yosemite was honored Monday by the Google Doodle with a collage of park ranger patches for its 123rd birthday (the park is marking its 150th year since Abraham Lincoln signed a grant giving Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to the state of California).

Overseas, the American Battle Monuments Commission has closed 24 overseas military cemeteries and 26 memorials and monuments.

The shutdown also affects travelers seeking trip planning information because national park websites are down. The TSA won't be providing updates on its website or on its blog.

Passport offices, including the one in Westwood, remain open and honoring appointments. 

About 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed because of the shutdown, the first in 17 years.
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