• Blue Ridge Parkway affected by federal government shutdown

    By: Dave Faherty


    BLOWING ROCK, N.C. - Gates are closed along some of the Blue Ridge Parkway as the federal government shutdown continues.

    There were visitors out at Bass Lake near Blowing Rock, but the bathrooms are blocked with caution tape and boards.  

    [RELATED: Trump meets Dems, says shutdown 'could be a long time']

    “We hike a lot of the trails and that sort of thing and there’s a lot of trash, maintenance that can’t be done,” visitor Bob Heath said.

    In the above video, Dave Faherty talks to park visitors about their thoughts on the ongoing government shutdown, and what it means for Blue Ridge Parkway.

    There are 150 federal employees who work along the Blue Ridge Parkway and roughly 80 percent of them are furloughed.

    “The national parks are a great treasure that we have and many people love to experience them,” visitor Arya Heath said.

    [RELATED: Federal employees feeling impact of government shutdown]

    The headquarters has this message on its voicemail: “Due to the federal government shutdown, I am not in the office and unable to respond to phone calls." 

    Some federal employees are working without a paycheck, clearing trees from the parkway and trying to keep up with the trash.

    [RELATED: TSA employees work busy holiday travel shifts with no pay during government shutdown]

    Park rangers are also on the job without pay, responding to emergency calls and closing sections of the parkway when icy conditions move in.

    However, clearing fallen trees from trails and patching potholes is not happening.

    [RELATED: Blue Ridge Parkway to remain as accessible as possible during government shutdown]

    Visitors are still coming to popular stretches along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including near the Linn Cove Viaduct.

    “It’s a haven for beauty where people can come, reconnect and be alive,” visitor Stephen Young said. “The government shutdown and its purpose seems to be the opposite of that, so it bothers me.”

    A maintenance worker told Channel 9 he only works twice a week, making it difficult to keep up with the trash and fallen trees.

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