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Posted: 5:13 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, 2013
By Ken Lemon
KINGS MOUNTAIN NATIONAL MILITARY PARK, S.C. —
The government shutdown is costing the nation's tourism industry $76 million a day and closing national parks. The federal government is now allowing states to appeal and use its own money to reopen park gates. Today, Gov. Nikki Haley's spokesperson said she will not use state money to reopen the park. Channel 9 talked to visitors who are begging her to reconsider based on the impact the park has on the community. Tim and Barbara Corey drove about an hour to find a padlock at the gates to Kings Mountain National Military Park. "It's sad to see it all shut down unnecessarily," said Tim Corey. Channel 9 told them the Department of Interior is allowing governors to pay to open national parks. "We would like to see Gov. Haley do that, but I don't know if she would or not," Corey said. Channel 9 learned she is not willing to do that. Her spokesman said the parks are closed because of the president's poor leadership. "South Carolina is not going to shell out our tax dollars to cover federal expenses," the spokesperson said. The park brings nearly $6 million to the Kings Mountain area and relies on people like Patti Hood, who drove from Illinois. "I just want to get a shot of the closed sign so I can remember how frustrated I was," Hood said. In October, the park draws up to 600,000 a day.
Many often stop for lunch at Ronda's Kitchen. "Usually my restaurant is packed out this time of day," owner Michael Hartman said. "I got one customer right now." Business is down 40 percent, said. He has had to cut employee hours and is begging the governor to reconsider. "Please open our parks back up," he said. Hotels have seen cancellations from people who were visiting to the park to see Revolutionary War reenactments. The ranger told Channel 9 he thought the budget battle would only last three or four days. He was here during the shutdown in 1995 that lasted 21 days. He is hoping this conflict doesn't take that long to resolve.
Click here for more on the budget battle.
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