Mammoth Cave Shutdown Puts Employees On Hold

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It was an early shutdown at Mammoth Cave on Tuesday as the park was forced to close at noon. Which meant no tours for people who traveled a very long distance. Naturally, leaving many frustrated.

"The way the caves are made by nature is just fantastic. To be denied to go down there is just really bad." said John Jones of Sparta, Kentucky.

"We came to make this part of a vacation effort. Not very pleased with what's going on in Washington." added Robert Osteen of West Green, Georgia.

Those with afternoon plans were forced to turn around and head for the exits. That included park employees who won't be paid until the shutdown is over.

"We are allowing campers and those who have overnight accommodations to vacate in 48 hours. Everything else is closed. We have 149 employees that have been furloughed and a skeleton crew that will stay on to manage things during the shutdown." said Mammoth Cave Public Information Officer, Vickie Carson.

Park officials say around 28,000 people toured the cave system last October, meaning a month long layoff could be devastating to those who have planned trips to the national treasure. Those who were unable to see the attraction Tuesday said they know they may able to make new plans to come back some other time, but unless officials in Washington agree sometime soon, more people in the coming weeks will be left disappointed just like them.

"We're all American people and we need to work together for the good of the country." said Judy Jones, wife of John.

National Park Officials said they're not sure how long the shutdown will last but they do have a plan for the short term, and the long term.

If you'd like more information on how the shutdown will affect the park, check below for a few helpful resources.

Shutdown Information: (877) 444-6777

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