As the government shutdown continues, national parks across the country remain closed. It's affecting several parks in the Upstate and Western North Carolina, including along the Blue Ridge Parkway. However, one Inn is defying the government's order to shut down.
On Friday, FOX Carolina stopped by The Mount Pisgah Inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway just outside of Asheville, North Carolina.
Our crew was greeted by several U.S. Park Rangers who were blocking both entrances. The rangers allowed our crew to enter, but no visitors are being allowed to step foot on the Inn's property.
Steve Stinnett, Chief Park Ranger, said, "Our job at this point is to deny access because the park service considers this a closed area and a closed facility." So, we're here just to deny access for the public, for the use of this commercial operation."
Our crew did see several employees on the property.
Stinnett explained, "There are employees that live at the Inn and work here because they're allowed to maintain their facility, but they're not allowed to operate it as a commercial endeavor at this time."
FOX Carolina talked to a manager at the Inn who said the owner decided to open on up on Friday for the visitors of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
However, even though the owner has opened his doors back up, no visitors will be allowed to pay and stay.
"It is a violation, they would be violating a closure if they entered the area," said Stinnett.
When asked if a visitor could be arrested for going on the Inn's property. Stinnett replied, "Potentially, we would hope we wouldn't get into that situation."
Stinnett said the only reason they're at the Inn is because they decided to open up after the order to shut down went into effect.
"It's easier to deal with not having people in, than removing people. So our goal is to minimize the situation and handle in the lowest level possible."
Stinnett said he's had good conversation with the owner.
"It's actually been very smooth between the concession (Inn) and us, and we hope the public understand the position the park service is in at this time. And that we're doing as we're directed," said Stinnett.
Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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