Wildflowers in Pisgah National Forest, one of the federal sites in Western North Carolina that could be affected by a government shutdown. Photo by Kathleen O. Davis.

From the N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development, shared April 8 via their Visit NC Newslink e-newsletter:


The possible shutdown of the federal government includes the National Parks Service, which could mean the facilities (campsites, visitor centers, etc.) on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Cape Lookout National Seashore and other North Carolina federal sites, as well as sites in the Pisgah, Nantahala, Uwharrie, and Croatan National Forests, would not be available for visitors.
If lawmakers can’t reach agreement, National Park Service venues will cease operations at midnight Friday (tonight).  The shutdown would impact the different sites in different ways.  Many areas in the Cape Hatteras seashore and around Cape Lookout would still be accessible to visitors, however, all access gates to the Blue Ridge Parkway would be closed to traffic.
If you are in a location near a North Carolina federal site where visitors may be turned away due to a shutdown, please do everything you can to re-accommodate those visitors.  There are viable alternatives to camping and recreation near all of North Carolina’s federal sites.  North Carolina’s State Parks offer an excellent alternative for visitors.  The state also has three National Scenic Byways that will remain open for visitors as well as 51 state scenic byways that give visitors a chance to experience North Carolina’s history, geography and culture.
Following the state byways, motorists will see some of North Carolina’s most breathtaking scenery, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west to the fertile plains of the Piedmont to the crystal blue shore of our coast.
Working with local tourism offices, the Division will use its VisitNC.com website, (800) VISIT-NC (847-4862) call center and nine welcome centers to direct visitors to other options near the North Carolina federal sites for alternatives.
If you are in an area affected by potential closures, please contact the Division to give us information on alternatives for visitors. Contact Margo Metzger at (919) 733-7420.

Want to share the “NewsLink” with a friend or colleague? Sign them up now at www.nccommerce.com/newslink. Should you have difficulty signing up for “NewsLink,” contact Publications Manager Kathy Prickett at (919) 733-8302 or via kprickett@nccommerce.com.

The N.C. Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development is committed to serving North Carolina’s tourism industry. If you have feedback regarding any of the Division’s programs, let your voice be heard at visitnc@nccommerce.com.

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Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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