The Great Smoky
Mountains National Park said on Friday that it has not received any
direction on what an orderly shutdown would entail, meaning it could
The current administration is handling the situation differently than
the Obama administration in hopes of keeping the park as accessible as
possible if a shutdown occurs.
If Congress can not pass a new federal budget bill, the Smokies will not
close any roads unless they become impassible due to things like ice or
fallen trees. Three roads are a top priority in the event of a shutdown:
the Spur, Newfound Gap Road and West Foothills Parkway.
Two campgrounds will remain open, however all visitor centers, restrooms
and concessions stands will be closed.
For now though, they say the park is open as normal.
"If the weather's not good, it's not safe for anybody to be out.
Especially with the weather so close to freezing," Benjamin Whiskeyjack,
Drove from Canada.
One family drove from Niagara Falls to GSMNP to find many roads closed
because of the weather. They said they can understand the safety
concerns, and they're hopeful to get on the trails this weekend.
But if the federal government shuts down, many visitors say that will a
disappointment that's not as understandable as the weather.
"One of the main reasons they want to come up here is to spend time in
the park and to get outside and hit the trails and stuff like that,"
vistor Brent Ruffin said. "Even in inclement weather, it's still fun to
drive around and it'd be pretty frustrating to pull up to locked gates."
There's also a local economic impact, with the folks who work for the
park not bringing home a paycheck.