The partial federal government shutdown is hitting historical sites and national parklands in Kentucky. The biggest hurt may be felt in cave country.
It might be said Kentucky’s best known natural attraction is ‘Mammoth Cave.’ Its federal employees have been sent home, but the park headquarters is still taking phone calls. They get a recorded message.
“All park facilities are closed including ferries, concessions, trails, campgrounds, and the visitor’s center. Cave tours will not be conducted during the shutdown period. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.”
Cave City Chamber of Commerce Director Jeff Lawson knows firsthand about the economic impact. Lawson also runs the ‘Cave Country R-V Campground,’ which is just five miles away from the national park
“Like I said, for me, a couple of reservations cancelled. I mean that’s almost 400 bucks right out of my pocket. And that’s just the first day. Hopefully, that’s not the pattern….We’ll see,” said Lawson.
Lawson adds there’s a group of about 30 military veterans staying at his campground. He says they walk in and shake their heads. Lawson says, ‘they’re proud of their country and ashamed of their government.’
“Everyone that comes in here has the same feeling and that is that our government officials are incompetent and this could not possibly happen if it were a business,” added Lawson.
Lawson and his staff have steered visitors to the area’s other cave attractions, but he adds many are still disappointed.