Rockslide Near Yosemite Chokes Off Small Town A huge rockslide has closed a main road leading into Yosemite National Park. Now the town of Mariposa, Calif., a place that bills itself as the gateway to Yosemite, is facing a tough summer and an uncertain future.
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Rockslide Near Yosemite Chokes Off Small Town

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Rockslide Near Yosemite Chokes Off Small Town

Rockslide Near Yosemite Chokes Off Small Town

Rockslide Near Yosemite Chokes Off Small Town

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5498017/5498039" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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The rockslide that began in April blocks California's Highway 140 about 20 miles east of Mariposa. Photos: Steve Proffitt, NPR hide caption

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Photos: Steve Proffitt, NPR

The rockslide that began in April blocks California's Highway 140 about 20 miles east of Mariposa.

Photos: Steve Proffitt, NPR

The rockslide has forced many local tourist-related businesses in Mariposa to close. Steve Proffitt, NPR hide caption

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Steve Proffitt, NPR

The rockslide has forced many local tourist-related businesses in Mariposa to close.

Steve Proffitt, NPR

The slope above the highway is still unstable, as slides continue to kick up dust. hide caption

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The slope above the highway is still unstable, as slides continue to kick up dust.

A huge rockslide has closed a main road leading into Yosemite National Park. Now the town of Mariposa, Calif., a place that bills itself as the gateway to Yosemite, is facing a tough summer and an uncertain future.

Mariposa sprang up during the California Gold Rush of 1849. These days, it has a cute little one-block downtown that includes the 49er Saloon and the Mariposa Gazette, a newspaper that claims to be the oldest weekly publication in California.

The slide closed off California's Highway 140 in April, cutting off the lifeblood of the town. The restaurants, shops and hotels that depend on tourists visiting Yosemite are struggling. At the River Rock Inn, business is off by 70 percent, the owner says.

Other shops that cater more to locals are taking a hit, too. Many area residents have been laid off or are worried about losing their jobs.

Mariposa's problem won't be resolved anytime soon. When it started in April, traffic engineers put up a retaining wall they thought could handle the slide. But the slide continued to grow. It's anybody's guess when the road will reopen.