Big South Fork reopening brings mixed emotions

Big South Fork reopening brings mixed emotions

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Workers at the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area on the Cumberland Plateau were taking down barricades most of the day on Thursday. Workers at the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area on the Cumberland Plateau were taking down barricades most of the day on Thursday.
"We are just going around collecting anything that actually resembled the fact we were closed," said park spokesman David Carney, "That should happen really fast." "We are just going around collecting anything that actually resembled the fact we were closed," said park spokesman David Carney, "That should happen really fast."
"I'm glad they did what they did," said Southeast Pack Trips owner Larry McMillan, "That's a great thing because our prime week of leaf colors is right now." "I'm glad they did what they did," said Southeast Pack Trips owner Larry McMillan, "That's a great thing because our prime week of leaf colors is right now."
Larry McMillan, who is also the concessionaire of the Charit Creek Lodge, says he has already lost 20 percent of his business for the year. Larry McMillan, who is also the concessionaire of the Charit Creek Lodge, says he has already lost 20 percent of his business for the year.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

JAMESTOWN (WATE) - The federal government reopening after Wednesday night's bipartisan vote by Congress also means the reopening of national parks.

A special arrangement was made for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but Thursday night's deal cleared the way for other attractions across the state.

This included the Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area on the Cumberland Plateau.

Park workers were taking down barricades most of the day on Thursday.

"We are just going around collecting anything that actually resembled the fact we were closed," said park spokesman David Carney, "That should happen really fast."

The news that Big South Fork is back open was great for business owners who depend on visitors to the area.

"I'm glad they did what they did," said Southeast Pack Trips owner Larry McMillan, "That's a great thing because our prime week of leaf colors is right now."   

Even though it is great news that the shutdown is over, the business owners 6 News spoke with said the damage has already been done.

McMillan, who is also the concessionaire of the Charit Creek Lodge, says he has already lost 20 percent of his business for the year.     

He fears many people might still not come out.

"I don't think there will be anyway we'll make up them two weeks, three weeks up," he said.

"I'm happy it's reopened," said Saddle Valley Campground owner Teresa Elam. "I'm concerned because of next year because it's a temporary fix."    

Elam says she just hopes this does not happen again.

"I'm salvaging this weekend because of the reopen," said Elam. "We are telling people to come on and enjoy Big South Fork."    

Park officials say they are expecting big numbers of people visiting this weekend.

"The timing couldn't be better," said Carney. "The fall colors are starting to come in. It's beautiful."    

Big South Fork sees close to a million visitors each year. In comparison, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park sees close to 10 million a year.

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