SAN FRANCISCO -- Yosemite National Park is expected to reopen
March 15 unless more storms hit and hamper repair efforts to the
main highways leading to the park.
Yosemite has been closed since Jan. 1, when severe rainstorms
caused flooding in Yosemite Valley and landslides closed the
highways leading to the park's entrances.
Park officials put the cost of damages to Yosemite Valley at
Yosemite ranks as one of California's top tourist destinations
with more than 4 million visitors a year.
There was no damage to the valley's famous Ahwahnee Hotel or
other lodging establishments, but some campgrounds and canvas-sided
cabins were damaged and will be removed as part of a long-planned
According to a park spokesman, highways 120 through Sonora and
41 through Oakhurst are expected to be fully operational on March
15. The third highway leading to the park, highway 140 through
Merced, only will be open to a morning and evening shuttle
Highway 140 is expected to be fully operational by Memorial Day,
the spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for Gray Line of San Francisco, which operates
daily tours to Yosemite from San Francisco, said the firm would
restart its programs as soon as the park reopens.
Tauck Tours, which operates California and America West programs
that visit Yosemite, has had to reroute several of its tours in the
last month but will be back in Yosemite once the park reopens,
according to a company spokesman.
Tauck has substituted an extra night in San Francisco and the
Napa Valley for Yosemite.