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Closed sign

Budget impasse closes
popular resort in Blue Ridge Mountains

December 30, 1995
Web posted at: 8:45 p.m. EST

From Reporter Michele Mowery

BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS, Virginia (CNN) -- It's not just federal workers who have been affected by the partial government shutdown. A popular retreat in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains has been forced to roll up the welcome mat because it has no visitors -- thanks to the budget impasse which has closed national parks across the country.

The privately owned Otter Lodge nestles in the scenic Jefferson National Forest. A "closed" sign hangs on the park's gates, which have been shut since December 16.

Don Humphries

For Don Humphreys, the general manager at the lodge, Washington's budget crisis couldn't have come at a worse time. It's ruining his budget; the lodge was fully booked for the holiday weekends, but now, both Christmas and New Year's reservations have been canceled. (102K AIFF sound or 102K WAV sound)

Humphreys is mailing out stacks of refunds, and has had to furlough 80 employees because the lodge has lost more than a $100,000 so far, a sizable chunk for a small operation like the lodge.


Visitors who drove long distances to spend some time at the lodge had to turn back in disappointment. Fran and Larry Moore traveled from Houston, Texas, to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they were married six months ago.

The Moores had spent their honeymoon at the lodge, and were looking forward to another vacation there. Now, they will have to settle for a few photographs and a short walk around the lake.

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