Shutdown Would Shutter Recreation Area

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DELAWARE WATER GAP -- If lawmakers don't come to an agreement on spending by midnight, the federal government will shut down.

In the Poconos, that means the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area will close during a peak time for tourists.

Right now, the recreation area is a popular spot for people coming out to get a look at the fall foliage, or get in one last hike before winter arrives.

But a possible government shutdown at midnight means people planning to visit the park may be forced to reschedule.

Nickolas Barakso of Tobyhanna is a freelance photographer. He tries to take advantage of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area as much he can. This is where he says he captures nature through his lens.

"I occasionally try to troll around these areas to look for great pictures and represent the area as best I can," he said.

But his time there might be cut short. A federal government shutdown would close this and other another national parks.

"I for one would be severely disappointed if I couldn't just come out here and enjoy the park service," Barakso said.

If the government were to shut down, park rangers would be forced to not only shut the gates, but also lock the, at places like at Kittatinny Point to prevent people from coming in.

Stephen Gelinek of Minnesota has been hiking the Appalachian Trail since March and has 100 miles to go to complete his goal. He depends on rest stops like the one at Kittatinny Point to be open between his long hikes.

"I hope it wouldn't get to that place where they would start taking hikers off the trial and say 'you can't be on the trail because we don't have any resources to rescue anyone who has injuries,'" Gelinek said.

Richard Pizzolongo of New Jersey says he's fed up with lawmakers fighting and then threatening to shut down areas he and his family enjoying visiting.

"Let's go, guys. Negotiate, keep the parks open and let's move forward and let's do the right thing."

The park superintendent says if there is a shutdown, Route 209 through the recreation area will remain open plus, a "small staff" of law enforcement officials will still report to work.