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Shutdown: California national park hotels reopen despite closures

October 15, 2013|By Mary Forgione | Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
  • The Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley National Park has opened for the season, though surrounding parklands remain closed.
The Furnace Creek Inn at Death Valley National Park has opened for the season,… (Xanterra Parks & Resorts )

National parks in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota and New York welcomed visitors last weekend despite the federal government shutdown because they paid the feds to reopen the facilities.

California, however, was not willing to pay, which has left some concessionaires in the odd situation of opening hotels while popular parks remain shut.

Of course, if a hinted-at budget/debt ceiling deal comes through, all national parks would soon open. Until then, visitors to California parks will have to wait and see what happens next.

The historic Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley National Park opened for the season Friday because it's located on a private in-holding, not federal land. "You can enjoy the resort, play golf, swim but you can't go anywhere else," spokeswoman Mona Mesereau said Monday of the hotel operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts in Yosemite opened the 19th century Wawona Hotel and General Store to visitors on Friday too, even though the nearby golf course, the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias, and trails and facilities in Yosemite Valley are still closed.

Hotels and restaurants located on through roads in Yosemite National Park may reopen, Delaware North said in a statement.

Eight parks in Utah, including Bryce and Zion; Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; the Statue of Liberty in New York; and the Grand Canyon opened last week -- for a limited time.

Arizona paid $651,000 to the National Park Service to reopen restaurants, lodges and trails at the Grand Canyon from last Saturday through Friday. And the $25 fee is being collected too. Mt. Rushmore also reopened Monday, at a cost of $15,200 a day.

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