Yosemite's power outage comes at a price
EL PORTAL, Calif. (KFSN) -- The power outage forced officials to shut down Yosemite completely, for the first time in fourteen years. And many mountain communities around the park are still without power as well Tuesday night.
We are just about two miles from the entrance into Yosemite. But El Portal is somewhat of a ghost town right now because of the lack of power. And, at this point, the earliest crews will have it restored for both here and the park is Saturday.
More than a hundred Yosemite employees and nearby residents packed into the El Portal Community Center Tuesday for a rundown of what crews are doing to reopen the park and how soon the work will be done.
El Portal resident, Ron Kaul said, "What we experienced the other the night, at least from my perspective was pretty dramatic with the amount of snow that came in."
Monday's storm dumped three and a half feet on Yosemite's valley floor. The park is covered with rocks and fallen trees. And so are all highways leading in. With another storm on its way, park officials warn it could take several more days until the park reopens.
Tom Medema explained, "PG&E has indicated that we will not have power before Saturday, so it's not likely that we will be able to have entrance into the park before Saturday, but again, we're waiting on the current weather situation."
For each day Yosemite remains closed, they lose about $10 thousand in entrance fees and another $20 thousand in concessions. Not to mention, all of the nearby hotels who have refunded hundreds of reservations. In nearby Mariposa however, business is booming.
Caleb Collins, who works in Mariposa said, "Lot of the tourists have been coming to the town. They don't know Yosemite is closed, so they've just been flooding into the town."
People, like Alan Foaseal, who traveled from France to see the park, but ended up shopping 30 miles outside it instead.
"We are a little disappointed," said Foaseal. "It would have been a pleasure to see Yosemite Park."
The biggest issue for crews is being able to access some of the more remote areas, where power needs to be restored.
The last time Yosemite closed was in 1997 for flooding, and that closure lasted two months.
yosemite, storm, local, shannon handy
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