Today’s Google Doodle commemorates the 123rd birthday of Yosemite National Park, eastern California’s stunning swath of granite and Sequoias visited by nearly four million annually. Too bad it won’t be open for its own party.
Today is day one (or zero, for you programmers) of the U.S. government shutdown, the first in 17 years. Because Congress missed Monday night’s deadline to pass a new budget and avert a shutdown, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed — including the rangers that keep America’s national parks operational.
“Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed,” said President Obama in a White House statement last night. “And of course the communities and small business that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck.”
Google Doodles have become a storied tradition for the Internet search giant. They originated in 2000 when intern Dennis Hwang created a modified Google logo to celebrate Bastille Day. Since then, Google has worked with a team of illustrators to create over 1,000 Doodles celebrating special people, places, and events for the site’s homepage.
But despite today’s celebratory Doodle, Yosemite staff are surely in a miserable mood. The National Park Service is running on a skeleton staff, with more than 21,000 workers (87 percent of its workforce) on leave for the foreseeable future. The service estimates lost entrance, rental, and campground fees will add up to $450,000 in forfeited revenues a day.
Current campers have 48 hours to exit America’s 401 national parks, which encompass some 84 million acres.