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Parkway Trails Closed
Trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway land are off-limits to hikers and joggers during the government shutdown, but people are still using those trails.
Even large groups are flooding the trails as they enjoy fall colors in the forest on parkway land. But rangers say the hundreds of miles of trails that parallel the parkway are technically part of the facilities on this road that are closed.
There are no barriers or barricades at trailheads, but rangers could give citations to hikers and joggers. People using the trails say this is just another shutdown headache, but rangers say this kind of violation is not a priority for them. Rangers say they're focusing their limited law enforcement staff to parkway emergencies and the health and safety of people on the road. They ask visitors to stay on the parkway side of locked gates.
An example is at the Parkway Headquarters and Visitor Center. The center is closed, and walking there would be a violation of federal law. So far, no citations have been issued for people using the trails. Rangers say all of the overlooks and parking areas remain open for visitors to use.
By: Sherrill Barber
Follow Sherrill on Twitter @sherrillbarber