Residents Crowdfund Thousands To Keep A Federal California Beach Open During Shutdown
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
With the federal shutdown over for now, this weekend, some national parks around the country are opening back up. Sara Hossaini from member station KQED reports.
SARA HOSSAINI, BYLINE: Stinson Beach is gleaming in the warm January sun. Surfers float in the distance, occasionally dropping into a wave. Kids like Kyle Johnson are busily erecting a sand barrier to protect their castles from the relentless tide.
KYLE JOHNSON: Now we're trying to build a wall. But it's not going so well, either.
HOSSAINI: Wall or no wall, the beach is back to its regular schedule after private donations kept the park partially open for the past four weekends. Max Farber of nearby Fairfax says he's happy to see the park clean and busy. But he says it's not fair for taxpayers to have paid for the same services twice.
MAX FARBER: To have everybody and community members having to kind of foot the bill is, you know, an unfortunate circumstance.
HOSSAINI: Residents crowdfunded thousands of dollars to help reimburse the owner of a beachside cafe who's been writing personal checks to keep trash picked up, bathrooms open and a ranger on duty. While a deal was failing to materialize on Capitol Hill, Mary Margaret Stewart of Siren Canteen was busy striking one here, which allowed her to keep her business afloat while keeping the beach open for her neighbors. For that, she says she's grateful to park officials.
MARY MARGARET STEWART: Because it wasn't easy because the - you know, we had to, like, meet in a dark - it was almost like this clandestine - just giving a check, like, meeting at 10:15, exact. And, like, sometimes, the check didn't go through because my number was written wrong. You know, it was just, like, crazy.
HOSSAINI: Stewart says she knows it might not be the last time. She's already thinking of saving the crowdfunded cash.
STEWART: I almost feel like it should be in an account for only this kind of stuff even for future closings. Hopefully, there won't be any.
HOSSAINI: President Trump has given until mid-February for Congress to reach a deal. For NPR News, I'm Sarah Hossaini at Stinson Beach.
(SOUNDBITE OF TOMMY GUERRERO'S "AT THE CIRCLES EDGE")
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