Times Hits the Natural Park Trail for Sob Stories on Looming Government Shutdown

The front of Friday's Business Day section indulged in the usual journalistic cliches that surround the threat of a government shutdown - disappointed tourists at popular tourist attractions like the Washington Monument, or a national park. Reporter Motoko Rich took the national park path for "Shutdown's Ripples Would Be Wide," citing President Obama as a nonpartisan voice.

It's not just an estimated 800,000 federal employees who would feel the financial pinch of a government shutdown.

Among the people anxiously waiting to hear if Congress can reach a budget deal are front desk clerks at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, manufacturing executives whose companies supply goods to federal agencies, bank loan officers who make mortgages guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration and Wall Street analysts who depend on a steady flow of government data.

The federal government is, after all, a very big business, and temporarily pulling the plug would disrupt many other businesses.

President Obama has warned that the looming shutdown could stall the already fragile economic recovery by choking off much-needed paychecks to workers and introducing another level of uncertainty in an already uncertain world.

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At the national parks, many of the hotels and restaurants are operated by private concerns that will most likely suspend some workers if the parks are closed. Without their weekly paychecks, those employees could tighten their belts, causing further fallout for grocery stores or other retailers who may see sales slow.

In Yosemite, for example, Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts operates four hotels with 972 rooms and 13 restaurants. A company spokeswoman, Lisa Cesaro, said that if the shutdown continued beyond the weekend, all lodging and food operations would close, and workers would be forced to take vacation time or unpaid leave, right as peak season was starting.