Thousands of Americans had long planned trips to Yosemite National Park for Father’s Day weekend — but the White House is encouraging them to arrive before 8 a.m. to avoid conflicting with President Barack Obama’s weekend visit to the park.
The First Family is scheduled to visit Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico and Yosemite on a lightning tour through the West.
According to the Fresno Bee, Obama will be the first sitting president to visit Yosemite since John F. Kennedy in 1962.
Breitbart News captured video of Chinook military helicopters preparing for the president’s visit earlier this week, with an arial sweep through the majestic Yosemite Valley towards the iconic Half Dome peak in the distance.
Locals also told Breitbart News that nearby military bases had been preparing for the arrival of Air Force One and the Obama family.
The Bee notes that the president’s visit also coincides with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The embattled agency is facing internal turmoil over sexual harassment allegations and other problems. In the fall of 2013, the agency blocked off national monuments on the Mall in Washington, D.C. in a conscious effort to create public discomfort with the federal government shutdown. World War II veterans in town for Honor Flight ceremonies simply ignored the fences.
The Bee adds:
With or without Obama, Mariposa Chamber of Commerce CEO Dane Carlson said, it will be a madhouse.
“Every weekend in the summer is always busy,” he said. “Everything’s sold out. If you haven’t planned ahead, you are very unlikely to find a place.”
Still, Obama’s visit will likely kick everything up a notch, from the inconveniences to the tourists with an unexpected tale to tell about their weekend.
White House officials are encouraging people to get into the park before 8 a.m. If not, they should wait until after 6 p.m. to avoid traffic congestion. All camping permits are being honored.
Temperatures across the region are expected to be very warm this weekend, adding to the stress of the visit.