Shutdown felt along the coast

10/10/2013

The government shutdown has brought welfare programs, clinical trials, worker pay and more to a disturbing standstill, but it did not deter some people from enjoying a sunny weekend along Marin’s coast. In more congested areas like Stinson Beach numerous parking violations were noted along the highway and neighborhoods adjacent to the barricaded beach parking lot. Spokesperson Lt. Jamie Scardina said the sheriff’s office was more lenient in enforcing parking regulations in the area because of the shutdown, ticketing only those cars posing the most perilous hazards. But park spokesperson John Dell’Osso said that the rangers who have told people they cannot enter parkland are protecting both natural resources and visitors themselves. “If someone goes wandering in the back country and breaks their leg, how will we know someone is out there? We won’t know unless we stumble across them,” he said. Though he said most visitors are complying with the rules, there have also been a few cases of vandalism, with signs torn down and barricades run over. Steve Costa, the co-owner of Point Reyes Books, last week headed up the creation of a flyer displaying alternative destinations for visitors. He said business was not down at the bookstore. “A lot of people came in last week who couldn’t go to the park and spent more time in downtown Point Reyes. Maybe they found the bookstore as a distraction,” he said. About half the tourists he spoke with were aware of the closure before arriving in town, he said, but added that conversations with business owners revealed other establishments experienced a drop in traffic. Giorgio Notari, the general manager at Osteria Stellina, said it was difficult to quantify the impact, since it is nearing the end of the tourist season. “We feel the difference,” he said, however. “Last week, we had at least 10 cancellations directly related to the park closure. They said, ‘Oh, sorry, we have to cancel, we’re not coming because the parks are closed.’” As for the shutdown, he said, “It’s something that needs to stop immediately.”