Blue Ridge Parkway remains closed amid government shutdown

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) –  Wednesday marked day 12 of the partial government shutdown, and many national parks remained closed without money to pay for their day-to-day operations.

Without government funding, attractions like the Blue Ridge Parkway have been left unsupervised and poorly maintained, if at all.

Asheville resident Susie McGuire and her dog Murphy walk the trails every day, but at the visitors center they’ve noticed a quick turnover of disappointed hikers.

“There’s so many people coming and going, and I just tell everybody that they’re not open,” she said Wednesday.

The doors were shut and the building empty during what’s normally a busy holiday week for visitors.

“They’re all looking for a bathroom of course, and what to do on the Parkway, and there’s nobody there!” McGuire said.

Hikers from all over the country looking for scenery, only found disappointment.

Ali Truley, a hiker from St. Pete, Florida, was one person who was hoping to walk the grounds.

“First time in the Blue Ridge Parkway, we’re trying to hit all the national parks as a bucket list thing, and came and it was closed. Everywhere is closed,” she told 7 News.

Campgrounds and picnic areas remained closed to the public with one exception.

Employees were out of work, not able to keep operations running smoothly and safely.

The Folk Art Center, a few miles from the visitor’s center, was one of the few places open Wednesday. The center is funded by an outside organization.

Families expressed concern over the continued shutdown, adding they hope that Congress can reach a funding deal soon.

“At the end of the day we’re all the same country, so we have to work together,” said visitor Carlos Chacon.

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