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Groveland businesses struggle as Hwy 120 closure hinders access to Yosemite

The closest route to get into Yosemite is through the Mariposa gateway, a little more than two-hour trip from Groveland

GROVELAND, Calif. — For businesses hoping to cash in close to Yosemite National Park in Groveland, a major road repair project in the park is putting a halt to that.

Inside the more than century-old, historic Hotel Charlotte in Groveland, owner Finn Horsley says very few people are currently staying at the hotel.

"I wish I could sugarcoat it, but it's been devastating," he said.

Out of his 13 rooms, only two are booked.

"Losing these revenues now at this time and with an indefinite reopening, it's been hard," said Horsley.

The re-opening he's referring to is Big Oak Flat Road. The continuation of Highway 120, about five miles in from the Yosemite entrance, extensive construction is underway to repair what began as a 200 foot long, up to four-foot deep crack in the road.

The park says the embankment below the road has moved as much as 15 feet downslope and has significant water flow through it. It may be mid-June or later before the road is open.

At this time heading into the Memorial Day weekend, Groveland would be bustling with tourists and visitors from around the world but not this year. With the exception of local traffic, most of the town is empty of visitors and the Groveland Hotel is half booked.

"Typically from what I can see before the road closure, we were fully booked up... and at least 60% booked-up throughout the summer," said Sarah Rosales, manager at the Groveland Hotel.

At "Trail Less Traveled" bike and gear shop, they're seeing a drop in business as well but not from tourists.

"We obviously support some of the seasonal employees that come to work at the resorts, the national park. You know, they want to go out and bike ride. Well, if they're not working, they're not going to spend the money," said J.R. Rollins, owner of the store.

For now, construction on Big Oak Flat continues seven days a week.
Businesses in Groveland and nearby hope at the very least one lane of traffic will open soon.

The closest route to get into Yosemite is through the Mariposa gateway, a little more than two-hour trip from Groveland instead of the usual thirty minutes to get into the park on Highway 120.


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