Government shutdown forces historic lodge to close

Government shutdown forces historic lodge to close

Posted:
Larry McMillian, the general manager of Charit Creek Lodge and owner of Southeast Pack Trips has taken guests by horse back to the lodge, but the federal shutdown is forcing him to turn visitors away during peak season. Larry McMillian, the general manager of Charit Creek Lodge and owner of Southeast Pack Trips has taken guests by horse back to the lodge, but the federal shutdown is forcing him to turn visitors away during peak season.
The Charit Creek Lodge is only accessible by hiking, biking or horseback riding and during the shutdown he is legally not allowed to take visitors to the cabins. The Charit Creek Lodge is only accessible by hiking, biking or horseback riding and during the shutdown he is legally not allowed to take visitors to the cabins.
Reservations are made almost a year in advance for the busiest time of the year: the changing of the leaves. Reservations are made almost a year in advance for the busiest time of the year: the changing of the leaves.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

JAMESTOWN (WATE) – For two decades, Larry McMillian has taken guests by horse back to the rustic Charit Creek Lodge, but the federal shutdown is forcing him to turn visitors away during peak season.

"Since the government shutdown we've had to turn down reservations Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and tonight," explained Larry McMillian, the general manager of Charit Creek Lodge and owner of Southeast Pack Trips.

The Charit Creek Lodge is only accessible by hiking, biking or horseback riding and during the shutdown he is legally not allowed to take visitors to the cabins.

Reservations are made almost a year in advance for the busiest time of the year: the changing of the leaves.

"If you're coming for October and its shut down, you're not going to come in November. This is a crucial time, we only have peak season for five to ten days," he said.

Between the horse rentals and the lodge reservations and paying his staff McMillian has lost nearly $12,000 since the shutdown and that number continues to grow each day.

"These people pay in advance 100 percent, it's probably going to be $5,000 a week just with the lodge, more when you factor in the stables," he explained.

As he prepares for a group traveling in from Illinois Tuesday, he says he's willing to take a stand.

"Tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. its check-in time. I'm going to allow them to come in, I'm going to force somebody's hand," he said with a determination.

It's a statement he knows could land him in trouble.

"I've notified the National Park Service be prepared to take me to jail if necessary," he said.

But he says he willing to do it for what he believes in.

"I've put my life and effort into everything here, I love Big South Fork, it's almost like they're taking it away from us. It's like they're taking us hostage with land owned by the people," McMillian said.

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