Shutdown turns tourists away from a padlocked Point Park
LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, TN (WRCB) -
Chained and padlocked.
Point Park became one of the many national parks shutting down Tuesday morning, leaving visitors no choice but to turn around at the park's gate.
It's not often New Yorker Josh Broder has the chance to see a scenic view like the one offered from the top of Lookout Mountain. And he won't get it today. At least not from Point Park.
"The place is closed, the gates are closed because the government is shut down. I'm quite frustrated," said Josh Broder. "Driving up the mountain listening to the news, they were saying national parks were closed down but, ha, didn't quite put it together!"
All national parks including Lookout's Point Park and the Chickamauga Battlefield were closed Tuesday.
"I'm inconvenienced but there are people really impacted by this. Folks are out of a job. And to me, many of them are doing important jobs for the citizens of the United States," he said.
Some furloughed maintenance workers at the park spent the morning setting up orange barrels at every trail head and padlocking the gates, doing their job to keep out tourists.
"Disappointed but it's just the way it's got to be right now," said Billy Johnston.
Billy Johnston from Jonesboro, La. made the 8 hour drive with his aunt Tuesday morning. For the Johnstons, Point Park was just to be a pit stop on the way to the Smokies.
"Thing is, I just wanted to see the Smoky Mountains cause I've never been to Tennessee before," Johnston said.
But the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also victim to the federal government's partial shutdown. October is the park's busiest month averaging more than 1 million visitors.
"I'm grateful for what I've seen and hopefully we'll see a little more," he said.
Day one and the shutdown is throwing a real wrench in the plans of folks like Johnston and Broder who just want a view.
"You can't get a passport, you can't get a visa, I can't begin to list off the ways folks are being impacted by this," Broder said. "I feel the impact, it's 9 in the morning on the first day and I'm being impacted."
Saturday, January 20 2018 2:57 AM EST2018-01-20 07:57:16 GMT
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