(MENAFN- AFP) Google celebrated Yosemite's 123rd birthday Tuesday by devoting its signature search engine doodle to the world-famous tourist attraction -- just as the park was closed due to the US government shutdown.
Clicking on the doodle brought up a page of headlines about Yosemite National Park joining all other US national parks in closing due to the budget standoff on Capitol Hill.
Below was the link to Yosemite's own website, which was also down. "Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating," it told surfers.
''Anyone who's hoping to arrive, even for a day visit, would see gates closed and would be turned away,'' National Park Service chief spokesman Mike Litterst said, according to the Los Angeles Times.''There won't be any access.''
The company which operates over 1,000 rooms in the park, DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, was working to warn tourists of the shutdown before they arrived, while guests already staying there would have to leave within 48 hours, company spokeswoman Lisa Cesaro told the newspaper. She did not immediately respond to request for further comment.
The shutdown was the latest blow this summer for Yosemite, which draws millions of tourists from the United States and around the world every year to see its spectacular landmarks including the majestic Half Dome and El Capitan rock formations in Yosemite Valley, at the heart of the park.
Two of the four main roads into the park were closed in late August due to the so-called Rim Fire, which scorched over 257,000 acres (402 square miles) of forest outside and inside the northern edge of the park, which is about 200 miles east of San Francisco.
Spokespeople for Yosemite itself did not immediately respond to request for comment by phone or email Tuesday. One automatic reply, from spokeswoman Kari Cobb, said: "Because of the federal government shutdown I have been furloughed. I cannot check email messages until the government re-opens."
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