It was a long wait for people who depend on the outdoors.

Considering this is moneymaking time for many because of the fall foliage, the end of the government shutdown is more than welcome.

In the past 16 days WDBJ7 took you around Central and Southwest Virginia to show the toll the shutdown took.

Booker T. Washington National Park closed, the Cascades in Giles County affected, the Appalachian Trail shut down for hikers, to name a few.

The Blue Ridge Parkway remained open, but attractions along it needed to close. Mabry Mill in Meadows of Dan, “We were talking bankruptcy.”

Julie Lee and Judy Cunningham help run what they believe to be the only Blue Ridge Parkway attraction that stayed open for the entirety of the shutdown.

“We're the only ones they can get a souvenir from that says Blue Ridge Parkway,” Lee said.
The Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center at Explore Park is right off the federally run parkway, but technically it's on Roanoke County land so it continued to operate.

Lee and Cunningham had to get creative to make sure visitors from near and far had somewhere to go.

“Well a lot of people have already changed plans,” Lee said.

“They spent a lot of time helping the folks that were traveling the parkway to find places to go because their plans had totally been ruined,” Scott Ramsburg of Roanoke County Parks and Recreation said.

Regionally, the impact of the shutdown on outdoor attractions hurt.

“The Roanoke Region is trying to brand itself as an outdoor attraction and that's the last thing that we need as an area,” Ramsburg said.

The good news, for now, everything's open, and even if this all does happen again in January, folks who rely on outdoor tourism say at least it'll be the dead of winter.