Patrick Tehan / MCT

A sign on Rt. 41 in Oakhurst, Calif., notifies travelers that Yosemite Park is closed Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. The shutdown of the federal government overnight meant that some federal employees, such as rangers who staff national parks, were furloughed as their positions are considered 'non-essential.' The shutdown means anyone who is in Yosemite National Park has 48 hours to leave if the House and Senate can't come to an agreement on a funding bill that puts the federal government back in business.

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California will not pay to reopen Yosemite, other national sites closed by shutdown

Published: Friday, Oct. 11, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013 - 1:55 am

Citing California's own precarious financial position, officials said Thursday that the state would not spend its own money to reopen national parks closed by the federal government shutdown.

Earlier Thursday, the Department of Interior said states were welcome to pay federal salaries to reopen national parks, such as Yosemite, that have been closed by the federal budget stalemate. But H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the California Department of Finance, said the state is in no position to do that.

The state's budget already has been affected by the federal shutdown, which has cut off numerous revenue sources for government operations and undermined local taxes generated by tourists drawn to the national parks.

“When we passed the budget in June, it was balanced by a very narrow margin,” Palmer said. “There are a number of risks to that budget that could move it in the wrong direction.”

In addition, he said, even if the state spent its own money to reopen national parks, there is no guarantee it would be reimbursed by the federal government.

“It's just unfortunate, because the communities around the national parks in California ... are feeling an immediate impact in things like canceled reservations,” Palmer said.

Call The Bee’s Matt Weiser at (916) 321-1264. Follow him on Twitter @matt_weiser

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