MN tourists making the best of closed monuments, shutdown
Since the shutdown began, we've been reporting on the impact of tourism, including communities surrounding national parks and monuments.
Western South Dakota is feeling the impact with the closure of Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave and Badlands National Park. In southwest Minnesota, the closure of Pipestone National Monument is creating a ripple effect.
The National Monument in Pipestone has been closed for four days now because of this government shutdown. But that isn't stopping out-of-towners from coming here and making the best of it. Orange barricades block the entrance to the infamous national monument in Pipestone.
"The government be damned, we're just going to go have our vacation."
For Christine and JJ from Wisconsin, those barricades have become the new must-have in place of the monument.
"What we're doing now is taking the same vacation but taking pictures of all the closed signs of things we wanted to see. Just a road trip. We've done Roosevelt National Park, the Black Hills, we got to Mount Rushmore," Christine Gay said.
They're not letting a government shutdown or any other surprises ruin their trip.
"We got to the black hills with a blizzard warning. So we had to get the heck out of dodge. 40 You got plan A, plan B, we're on plan D now," Gay said.
Pipestone Chamber of Commerce director Mick Myers knows the shutdown is keeping people away of Pipestone - which is hurting.
"This isn't all about money but just people coming to the community and your part of the state and something that's new and special and thinking good things about this area," Mick Myers said. "We got a call from a lady this morning asking if our national park was open, she said 'you can thank the government for us not spending money in our community'. People are angry."
With 80,000 visitors a year, representing about 50 different foreign countries, the monument brings in traffic, traffic means more money and that's what keeps Pipestone strong.
"It's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. Congress ought to just be ashamed of themselves and just govern," Gay said. "This is a government shutdown I will not forget."
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