Show off your holiday lights and you could win an iPad! Enter your photo by December 13. Winner will be selected by popular vote.
The timing would be a blow to communities that rely on tourists who travel the parkway to see the fall colors.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
The Blue Ridge Parkway and many of its attractions will close during its peak travel season if the federal government shuts down on Tuesday.
All national parks will be forced to close if Congress does not agree on a spending bill by midnight Monday. If a shutdown happens, park rangers have been instructed to close the parkway.
“The plan is to close up all operations and shut the gates for the most part,” said Leesa Brandon, Partnerships & Community Outreach Coordinator for the parkway. “I am still hopeful that there will be a resolution and it won’t come to that.”
The Department of the Interior posted its plans on its website Friday. Those plans call for closing all parks and visitors centers, canceling events and furloughing employees. Campers and guests will be given 48 hours to leave parkway campgrounds and lodges.
Although many details will still need to be addressed, the Department of the Interior’s plan seems to instruct parkway attractions such as Mabry Mill, the Peaks of Otter and other privately managed venues on parkway property to close. Even if those places are allowed to remain open, however, travelers in automobiles would have limited access.
Likewise, should a shutdown occur, the Blue Ridge Music Center will be forced to close and its daily bluegrass and old-time mountain music events will be canceled.
Brandon said that the park service will work with landowners who need to use the parkway to get to their homes or property.
A closure would come at the worst possible time for the parkway. October is the road’s busiest month, when up to 2 million travelers visit the 469-mile parkway
A 2012 economic impact study found that the parkway generated $1.5 billion of business annually and supported about 9,300 jobs in 29 counties.
The Department of the Interior’s plans can be found at http://www.doi.gov/shutdown.
Weather JournalWarmth next 2 days hits icy wall