”For the rest of the world, we’re concerned about the fact you have partisan positioning going on,” he says. “No matter who’s in power, there’s a national pride in engagement we saw. Suddenly, we see a great divide.”
ICONS FROM A DISTANCE
Some of the country’s most recognizable icons can be viewed from a distance — the full faces of Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, the granite formations in Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and Mount Rainier. No one needs to tell tourists that it’s not the same as camping on the beaches of the Grand Canyon off the Colorado River, walking the slot canyons at Zion or watching water spew at Old Faithful in Yellowstone.
”There’s no question it’s disappointing,” says Bruce Brossman of the Grand Canyon Railway, which has furloughed conductors and engineers who run trains into the canyon. “You can get a sneak peak and maybe get inspired to come back.”
Returning to the national parks might be easier said than done, particularly for international tourists who often plan expensive and lengthy vacations.
Jock Holland, of Melbourne, Australia, is among those forced to make alternate plans. He was heading to Grand Teton from Yellowstone when he was stopped by the park closure. He planned to chart a new course after grabbing a bite to eat in Jackson, Wyo.
The Yosemite Sierra Visitors Bureau outside the national park helped Stanton and his wife, Clare, set up horseback rides and hikes outside. He says Yosemite has “been somewhat on our bucket list for years, and you get here and you can’t get to it. A bit frustrating but we still made the most of it.”
Julie Jaeger and her friend are leaving California on Friday for what would have been a trip to Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Canyonlands and Mesa Verde national parks. They’ve renamed their vacation the “magical mystery tour,” as they search for state parks and interesting towns to visit along the way. They still hope the federal government resumes operations and they can salvage part of their original itinerary.