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Giles County community deals with effects of government shutdown

By David Kaplan, dkaplan@wdbj7.com
Published On: Oct 03 2013 07:03:35 PM EDT
Updated On: Oct 03 2013 07:05:18 PM EDT

Some small towns are heavily reliant on federal land being open

GILES CO., Va. -

The stakes of the shutdown are getting higher in small towns across the region.

Some small towns are heavily reliant on federal land being open.

When it's not, like at the Cascades in Giles County, the community feels the pinch.

“After they finish the hike, this is where they come,” restaurant owner Robin Smith said.

It's a novel idea, open up a restaurant right where hungry hikers will pass every time they go to the Cascades.

“We get a lot of tourists off of 460, students from Virginia Tech, parents visiting from Virginia Tech with their students,” Smith said.

For Robin Smith, owner of the Old Virginia Smokehouse, a novelty has quickly smoked into the smell of trouble.

“We can’t run long at all like this. Not only us, I'm sure the other surrounding restaurants are struggling, the whole little community,” Smith said.

For Smith, the government shutdown needs to end in the next 24 hours.

“I feel like this is really going to hurt us. This will be our first weekend with this Cascades shutdown,” Smith said.

Four miles away is the base of the hike, cars at a halt by the closed gates.

“They turn around in our driveway a lot,” Harley Hale said.

Harley Hale's family has lived in the last house on the left before you get to the gate for nearly 30 years.

We didn't want to test our luck and go past the gate, but Hale says people do the hike anyways.

“I think come this weekend it's going to be several vehicles up there regardless.They disregard everything and just go on up as they please and do whatever,” Hale said.

Hale says the last time the park was closed, people still came.

Robin Smith says it's still nothing compared to the traffic she needs to keep her business open.

But staying open won't happen if nothing continues happening in Washington.

The last time the Cascades closed was for just a few days back in July because of flooding and Smith said business was brutal then even with a few renegade hikers.