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Flood threat shuts down Yosemite Valley


Yosemite Valley is currently off-limits with a closure going into effect Friday at 5 p.m. The closure was announced Thursday ahead of a storm system that could bring some flooding to the park.

The closure of the valley came the closure of everything in it, including all campgrounds and lodging accommodations.

Allison Schuster has been planning a special moment for a special someone for awhile. She had the perfect ring and was ready to give it to her girlfriend, Casey Wilfong, on Saturday.

However, when she heard Yosemite Valley was closing Thursday night, she thought quick.

“I was planning on proposing [Saturday], so instead of doing that tomorrow, I just did that this afternoon,” Schuster laughed.

Casey Wilfong didn’t mind the moment being moved up, saying, “I still said yes, so that’s what’s important.”

The newly engaged couple are two of hundreds who had to improvise with campgrounds, like the Lower Pines Campground, having to clear out. Due to a storm system forecasted to bring a lot of rain into Yosemite National Park, park officials wanted to get everyone out of potential flooding from waterways like the Merced River.

Scott Gediman, the assisstant superintendent for public & legislative affairs, said the rainfall is expected to peak Saturday. So, all valley closures affect Saturday events and reservations as well.

He adds the soonest the closure could be lifted is Sunday.

“[We’ll reopen] based upon the impacts. If they’re minimal, or there’s not a lot, then we’ll reopen. If there are bigger impacts, then we’ll assess,” Gediman said.

Before Friday’s closure enacted, many made sure to squeeze in some time in the valley. Matt Kim-Perek and his son were visiting for the day after camping for a couple nights at Sequoia National Park.

“We aren’t going to be detracted by flooding, catastrophic or not,” Kim-Perek said. “But, we will be out by five.”

Just a reminder, only Yosemite Valley is closed in the park – everything else is open. For example, visitor services and campgrounds are still open in Wawona, Hodgen Meadow, Crane Flat and El Portal. The Big Trees Lodge, the El Portal Market and the El Portal gas station are also going to be open during the storm.

For the latest on the park’s closures, you can click here. You can also call 209-372-0200, at the prompt, dial 1, then dial 1 again.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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