September 30, 2013
The looming government shutdown will hurt Central Virginia in many ways. Specifically, the national parks would be shutdown, putting the parks at a standstill during one of the busiest times of year.
Bob Martin, parkway visitor from Massachusetts, said, "It's very picturesque. Obviously with the looming government shut down, we wanted to take full advantage of this wonderful park service and also the roads in this area."
Martin and his wife were just driving through the parkway on their way to North Carolina. But, Tom Tartaglino, a Fluvanna County artist, uses the Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway frequently as a place to get away and paint.
Tartaglino said, "It's the peace and serenity. Every body's happy up here."
He spends up to 40 days a year using the park as his canvas. Even though the Blue Ridge Parkway itself won't be closing in a shutdown, the Shenandoah National Park will. Skyline drive and all of the facilities will be closed, along with the beautiful fall scenes overlooking the mountains.
Tartaglino said, "That would be very sad because we are getting right into the tourism season. A lot of people are going to be put out in coming up here. I think that would be a real tragedy for the nation and the Commonwealth."
25% of the Shenandoah National Park's yearly visitors come during the month of October to see the fall foliage. Park officials said that closing could amount to millions of dollars lost since there is a park entrance fee and it is the peak month for visitors.
Local businesses could also feel the effects because there will be fewer tourists visiting Shenandoah National Park.
Devils Backbone Brewing Company is located only a few miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since the parkway is staying open, Devils Backbone isn't concerned about losing many costumers.
Heidi Crandall, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, said, "We are driven by tourists and yes there could be an economic impact. I think people would find a different route to get to us if the parkway should close."
Although, the Blue Ridge Parkway will not be closing in a government shutdown, the visitor's centers, camp grounds, and facilities on the parkway would be closed.
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