With Yosemite closed, tourists shun California community

(CBS News) GROVELAND, Calif. -- The impact of the government shutdown has gone far beyond Washington, far beyond the federal workers who were furloughed. The shutdown was an especially hard blow to folks in California, who have not even begun to recover from devastating wildfires.

Groveland, Calif., the Western gateway to Yosemite National Park, depends on park tourism. The massive Rim Fire chased visitors away in August and wrecked the summer tourist season. Now the park shutdown has shut down the fall season.

"I'm not able to make any of my bills," said Pamela Harris, the owner of the Pine Mountain Deli here. "That's why I have to be out by the end of the month. Can't pay my rent, can't pay my electricity, can't ... I'm gonna leave here in debt."

She calls the shutdown a man-made disaster. After 10 years, she's going out of business.

Pamela Harris must close her business
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"This is my life, my life, that I worked so hard," she said as she wiped away tears. "And I just feel like people like us just, nobody cares."

The whole town has suffered.

"The fire going through here was the coffin and now this is the nail in the coffin," said cafe owner, Steve Anker.

Steve Anker had to let go of staff
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He counts on October receipts to carry him through the winter, when nature shuts everything down. He said business is off 85 percent.

Out of a staff of between 15 to 18 people, he has had to let go of 12, he said.

"Yeah, this is a killer," he said.

The National Parks' shutdown cost the United States $30 million tourist dollars a day. Utah, Colorado, New York and Arizona tapped state money to keep parks open. But California, with 23 national sites, said it couldn't afford to bail out the federal government.

"They're making big, huge decisions that are totally affecting and destroying people's lives, and I don't think they realize what they're really doing," Harris said.

The Rim Fire was disastrous
CBS News

When a campfire triggered the disastrous Rim Fire, people here turned to firefighters for help. For this politically triggered disaster, there's nowhere to turn.

Complete coverage of the government shutdown is here.
  • Bill Whitaker

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