Government shutdown would close national parks

By Kumasi Aaron - Reporter/The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A government shutdown wouldn't be a walk in the park for residents of Jacksonville and the rest of the country.

Among the non-essential government services that would down would be the National Park Service.

Here on our area, that means Fort Caroline and Timucuan Preserve, Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine, and other attractions wouldn't be open for visitors.

For Dick Smith, that would mean having to find another place to walk dogs. Smith and his wife own a dog-boarding business.

"That would be a shame. I mean, we have other places that we could walk. Austin Park and things like that. But this is really the best," said Smith.

He said Fort Caroline National Park, with its beauty and history, is a perfect place for pictures and enjoying nature.

"The surroundings are wonderful -- the scenery, it's great photo op as far as the business goes but even when we don't have dogs at the house my wife and I walk the trails," said Smith.

Fort Caroline is one of 11 national parks in Florida that would close during a government shutdown. In 2011, the parks brought more than 600 million dollars of economic activity to Florida through tourism (according to whom?). Last year, there were more than 10 million visitors across the state (according to whom?).

National zoos and museums would also have to close as a result of a shut down. A total of 400 national park service sites would be affected.

John Fleckenstein brought his daughter to Fort Caroline for the first time. He hates to think he may not be able to bring her back again soon.

"That would stink. She really wanted to come here today so I guess we hasn't considered it," said Fleckenstein.

"I guess you don't really think about it in that regard but yeah there's a lot that could happen if the government does shut down."

Congress has until Monday night to reach an agreement on how the government will pay its bills.

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