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Hikers Upset Part of National Park Closed

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KITTATINNY POINT -- Tourists heading to the Poconos for Memorial Day weekend will have one less vacation spot to unwind and visit.

That spot is Kittatinny Point Visitor Center in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. So far, visitors are finding this out at a time when they need the center the most.

For the past five days, Josh Miner from Philadelphia has been hiking the Appalachian Trial, which extends from Maine to Georgia.

At one point, the trail goes through Kittatinny Point in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

"I was going to bathe in the bathroom and use the facilities.  I was hoping there would be vending machines," said Miner.

But he noticed something didn't look right.

"Well when I saw the Port-O-Potties on the corner, I didn't think that was a good sign. And when I got up here and saw the closed sign.  It was a little disheartening," said Miner.

Kittatinny Point Visitor Center is near the Monroe County line in New Jersey, and closed due to federal budget cuts.

Now Josh has to make a U-turn.

"It's a mile. I've got to turn around and go a mile. Honestly, I could keep going but I am just so ready to clean up and have a nice meal.  I'm going to go back," said Miner.

As he left, he walked past a new set of gates the park service had installed to keep people out. Park officials also set up logs all along the road, as a barricade, to prevent people from driving over a grassy area and entering Kittatinny Point.

Hikers from a high school in New Jersey were at the picnic area, wishing the visitor center wasn't closed.

"It's a pretty big disappointment because we're expecting to get some water, use a real bathroom," said Jon Marlow, a teacher at St. Benedict's Prep.

"I wasn't too happy about it. I had a few dollars on me and I wanted food.  I ran out of snacks like a day or two ago, so I was sad," said Isaac Tucker-Rasbury of Newark.

National Park Service officials say they are working on ways to try and open the site.