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National Parks on the First Coast face threat of shutdown

10:58 PM, Sep 29, 2013   |    comments
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Castillo De San Marcos, St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The clock is ticking for congress to agree on a budget deal that will keep the government running. The deadline is midnight on Monday and several federal programs, including National Parks, could be affected.

Records from the National Park Service show National Parks in Florida helped generate 608 million dollars in tourism during 2011. Over 10 million people visited parks last year and this Tuesday tourists could be turned away if congress can't agree on a spending deal.

"I just think the government should get their act together and work in unison. I just think there's a lot of wasted money everywhere and its ridiculous that we have to shut something down like this," said Russell Manning.

Manning is from Gainesville but says he escapes to St. Augustine every chance he gets. The Castillo De San Marcos was the destination for a fun Sunday with his family.

"I just think it would be sad to see it shut down, I mean it is an absolute landmark especially for Floridians like me," said Manning.

Karen James from Wichita, Kansas has been planning her trip to Florida since April and National Parks were on her and her husband's sight-seeing list.

"We came a long way to see this and there's some other places we want to go see but if they do that Tuesday we won't be able to see them," said James.

The last time the government had a temporary shut down was in 1996 -- nine million people were turned away from parks, museums, and monuments run by the National Park Service.

St. Augustine local Jeff Prewitt says he doesn't mind -- he's looking at the big picture. 

"It would be a shame for them to shut down but if that's what it takes to get rid of 'Obamacare' I'm for it," said Prewitt.

To find a list of National Parks on the First Coast click here.

First Coast News

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