Travelers disappointed with closed visitor's centers - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Travelers disappointed with closed visitor's centers

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FAYETTEVILLE -

The government shut down has left the National Park Service with only 9 employees until an agreement is made.  This has people in Fayette County wondering, how is that affecting our recreation on the New River Gorge?

There seems to be only one major hang-up in Fayette County.  For folks trying to stop at the Canyon Rim visitor's center, it's been a day of disappointment.

"This had been a planned destination for several years so were totally bummed it's closed... There goes our souvenirs and our patches saying we had been here," said Becky Fischer traveling from Georgia.

Paul Elliott said he brought a group of Amish friends all the way from Ohio to see the gorge.

"We went to Hawk's Nest, we're coming here and we're going to the scenic railroad, we came to see the bridge and possibly walk on the catwalk so a little disappointing that we came 5 and a half hours and it's closed," said Elliott.

And for future travelers, we asked the experts who are organizing the upcoming Bridge Day event on the gorge.  They said things are moving along flawlessly.

"With the government shut down we really are not expecting any issues or problems we have been informed by the National Park Service that it will continue with no affects to us," said Fayette County Chamber of Commerce Director Sharon Cruikshank.

The National Park Service said as soon as the government is back open they'll immediately re-open the visitor's centers.

As for white-water rafting, Adventures on the Gorge personnel said they are operating as usual.  The New River Gorge is a National Park but the new river and the Gauley River are not controlled by the federal government.

Rafting companies said if you have a trip planned - there's no need to worry because the access points to the river are mostly privately owned and there are still emergency response rangers on the river at all times.