Gates remained locked, visitors turned away at national parks - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Gates remained locked, visitors turned away at national parks

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LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, TN (WRCB) -

The National Park Service is one of the many government services affected by the shutdown, including Point Park. Point Park will remain closed to the public until the government shutdown is over.

"This was probably the highlight of our trip today,” Lance Burnam said about visiting Point Park, “So, yep, and this is it."

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The highlight of his trip didn’t turn out as he’d hoped. Burnam and his family are traveling home to Illinois from Florida.

"This is something that we've done before, but it's been about seven years since we came up this way,” Burnam explained, “So we thought we'd just come up and see what's changed."

The only change he could see was a locked entrance.

"Well we were hoping the gates would be open, but we figured that they wouldn't be," Burnam said.

A notice is up on the gates to the park and on the Visitor’s Center door telling park guests the park is closed during the shutdown.

"It's very frustrating when we're being held hostage,” Burnam said. “We're being held hostage right now by our own people that represent us."

Certain parts of some national parks are still accessible to the public. Roadways and trails, like the ones throughout the Chickamauga Battlefield, are still open.

However, there are no educational programs and visitor centers, restrooms and campgrounds are closed. Any maintenance needed, such as on trails and roadways, and janitorial duties are not being provided.

Burnam said the parks being closed is just one more thing about the government shutdown that frustrates him.

"I think it's ridiculous, and I think it's ridiculous we are not paying our troops right now,” Burnam said. “These are the people that have supported us. It’s just not right."

The National Parks Service also said, “access may change without notice.” Websites and social media pages for national parks are also not being updated.

Anyone found inside a national park that is closed could be charged with trespassing.

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