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National Parks Closed
Hundreds of miles from Washington D.C. there's serenity in the woods of western North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is the most visited one in the nation with officials estimating 35,000 tourists coming through on average every day. But now, with the government shutdown and park closed. there is frustration.
"We are not happy," said Tom Orselli who drove fourteen hours to the park with his family.
"It's ridiculous," said Robert Litkenhouse, Tom's father-in-law.
"It's closed," said Tom. "And we can't get in. We can't picnic or do any of the things we wanted to do here as a family."
Inside the park's campgrounds, picnic tables, all of them sit empty. Campers have until 6pm Wednesday to vacate campgrounds but by Tuesday night there were none to be found. Many tourists blame politicians for the stalemate.
"I think they're not doing their job right," said Janet Peterson a tourist from Leesburg, Florida.
The park hosts over 35,000 visitors on average each day in October. Nationwide the National Park System stands to lose more than $450,000 a day in lost revenue from fees collected at gates and fees for in-park activities. At Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 279 employees are on furlough because of the shutdown along with 60 concession employees and 45 Great Smokey Mountains Association employees who are also off work. 47 Staff members remain on duty providing security and emergency services.
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By Kimberly King
Follow Kimberly on Twitter @KimKingReports