Large protest held to reopen national park

Large protest held to reopen national park

Posted:
Hundreds of people gathered to show their frustrations about the park being closed. Hundreds of people gathered to show their frustrations about the park being closed.
"After being kicked out of Cades Cove, and hearing so many stories, heart breaking stories, of people that were there for family reunions, people who had planned weddings there, I decided I wanted to do something," said protester Malia Lane. "After being kicked out of Cades Cove, and hearing so many stories, heart breaking stories, of people that were there for family reunions, people who had planned weddings there, I decided I wanted to do something," said protester Malia Lane.
"To show people they should stand up for what they believe in," said organizer Jeremiah Spelas. "We have the freedoms of speech. If we stand up together we can make a difference." "To show people they should stand up for what they believe in," said organizer Jeremiah Spelas. "We have the freedoms of speech. If we stand up together we can make a difference."
"We brought 36 people from a hiking club in Las Vegas down here to hike for a week," said protester Nadine Whitacre. "We can't hike and it costs us a lot of money." "We brought 36 people from a hiking club in Las Vegas down here to hike for a week," said protester Nadine Whitacre. "We can't hike and it costs us a lot of money."
"We have been coming down for 35 years and this is the first time we have not been able to camp inside the park," said protester Kim Weber. "We are very upset." "We have been coming down for 35 years and this is the first time we have not been able to camp inside the park," said protester Kim Weber. "We are very upset."

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - As the government shutdown goes into its 12th day, many people are frustrated with the Washington's inability to work together.     

In East Tennessee, the closure of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has angered many.

A protest was held Saturday at the entrance of the park to get Washington's attention. Hundreds of people gathered to show their frustrations about the park being closed.

"After being kicked out of Cades Cove, and hearing so many stories, heart breaking stories, of people that were there for family reunions, people who had planned weddings there, I decided I wanted to do something rather than stay mad and complain," said protester Malia Lane

The protest was organized by Jeremiah Spelas of Gatlinburg.

"To show people they should stand up for what they believe in," said Spelas. "We have the freedoms of speech. If we stand up together we can make a difference."

Spelas says he really was not sure how many people would show up but was pleased with the turn out.

He says it was amazing to see many people from outside of the state who joined in the protest.

"We brought 36 people from a hiking club in Las Vegas down here to hike for a week," said protester Nadine Whitacre. "We can't hike and it costs us a lot of money."

"We have been coming down for 35 years and this is the first time we have not been able to camp inside the park," said protester Kim Weber. "We are very upset."    

All of the people we spoke with said they are unsure if this protest will get the park reopened, but they feel it will make a difference.

"This matters," said Weber. "If you don't have the right to speak then you don't have anything."

"I don't know if our voices will be heard, but I think it's time Americans stood up for what they felt was right," said Whitacre.

"If it's just my voice," said Lane. "If it's just Jeremiah's voice, but look at all the people, listen to the honking, yea I do think it will make a difference."    

The protest was held for most of the day.      

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