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Potential shutdown of Shenandoah National Park would harm surrounding businesses

Unless Congress passes a funding bill, the federal government will shut down at midnight...
Unless Congress passes a funding bill, the federal government will shut down at midnight Thursday. This could mean a full shutdown of Shenandoah National Park, spelling trouble for surrounding businesses.(WHSV)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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ELKTON, Va. (WHSV) - Unless Congress passes a funding bill, the federal government will shut down at midnight Thursday. This could mean a full shutdown of Shenandoah National Park, spelling trouble for surrounding businesses.

“A lot of the businesses around town rely on tourists and tourism from Skyline Drive and the parkway so definitely missing that businesses is definitely impactful, it hurts,” said August Napotnick, one of the owners of Elkton Brewing Co.

Elkton Brewing Co. is just one of the many businesses in the area that says they depend on the park’s visitors for a sizeable portion of their business. On the other side of the park, businesses in Luray would also take a hit from a shutdown.

“As far as local boost from the park it’s tremendous, restaurants benefit, lodging benefits, the shops benefit so the more people who visit the park the more people who will visit the surrounding communities,” said Regina Hilliard, President of the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce.

Hilliard says the park places a vital role in the area’s economy.

“In 2019 there were 1.4 million visitors to the park which resulted in like $96.7 billion in the communities near the park, there were also about 11 almost 12 hundred jobs created locally,” she said.

If the government shutdown happens later this week the national park will either remain open with no services or completely close down like it did in 2013.

“It was a little devastating for the community because the national park that’s in our backyard is shut down, visitors can’t go to it so we did lose revenue, quite a bit of revenue in the county,” said Hilliard.

If the park does end up fully closing, nearby business will have to adapt to make up for lost customers.

“If the parkway does shutdown or Skyline shuts down we’re gonna miss out on a big chunk of that crowd and in so doing we’ll have to do promos,” said August Napotnick.

During the most recent government shutdown in 2019 the park did remain open, with no available services and limited, unpaid employees.

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