The partial shutdown of the federal government is in to its third week. BPR headed out past the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on the edge of Macon Country to see what effects, if any, the shutdown is having on the area.
Standing Indian Campground is in the Nantahala National Forest. The campground is always closed this time of year but people are still able to access the trails within the forest. So the area still has plenty of visitors. Right now downed limbs and trees litter the roads and trails at Standing Indian.
Philip Walden, 21, had started planning a camping trip for his winter break with two of his buddies in November. He drove up from Georgia Tech to stay on Albert Mountain for the evening.
“We had to climb over like 20 trees just to go to the top of the mountain,” says Walden. “There were three of us so we could help each other like climb over but if I had been by myself there definitely could have been some problems.”
He said they definitely talked about cancelling their trip after hearing reports of human waste piling up at national parks but says ultimately they didn’t want to miss out on a chance to de-stress before the start of the winter semester.
“It was already too late to cancel it because we had brought new stuff. We didn’t want to not go because of it,” says Walden.
Typically, visitors would be able to check conditions at the parks and forests online – but the main National Park Service website and related social media accounts are not being updated during the shutdown.