Govt Shutdown Thwarts Vacations to National Parks - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Govt Shutdown Thwarts Vacations to National Parks

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A government shutdown forced Shenandoah National Park to close. A government shutdown forced Shenandoah National Park to close.

Vacation plans have come to a screeching halt for people hoping to sight-see in the nation's parks. People from hundreds of miles away had to settle for plan B as the gates to Shenandoah National Park closed until further notice, thanks to a government shutdown.

Although visitors were very well aware of the looming shutdown, they were still holding out hope Washington would get it done. Since that is not the case, there was no shortage of anger and frustration.

When visitors call the park for information, they get a 40-second recording saying employees have been furloughed - the aftermath of no deal in Washington.

Roy and Sherry Nelson drove all the way from Michigan to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary - a trip their kids saved money for as a gift. But hopes of seeing the beautiful fall foliage literally hit a road block Tuesday.

"This is the first actual vacation we've had in over 20 years. We wanted to do a fall trip, but now it's kind of come to an end," Roy Nelson said.

And similar frustration is being felt on social media as people asked about refunds - which will be given - and what happens to camping reservations later this month.

Ronald King's business, King's Gourmet Popcorn, isn't far from the park and says fall is the busiest time of year, largely because of out-of-towners.

"Shutting down the parkway, Skyline Drive, will affect all of us around here in the tourism business," King said.

Now, many visitors are planning an early trip home.

"We're a self-employed family of almost 40 years, paid our taxes, been hardworking citizens and did not deserve to have our trip end this way," said Sherry Nelson.

Although no one new can come into the park, representatives say as protocol people staying in lodging or campgrounds are given 48 hours' notice to find alternate accommodations.

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