Great Smoky Mountains National Park shutdown affects local businesses

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TOWNSEND, Tenn. (WVLT)-- 'Fightmaster Fly Fishing' depends on tourism from the National Park to keep it afloat but the government shutdown could sink it during it's most profitable month.

Rob Fightmaster has owned a operated 'Fightmaster Fly Fishing' for over 15 years. He guides tourist through waterways of the Great Smoky Mountains to fly fish.

"The Smoky National Park is a big draw for people all over the world because it's one of only wild trout fisheries in the Eastern United States." said Rob Fightmaster

It's a popular adventure that picks up speed in the spring and fall; the busiest times of year for the park too.

"About 75% of my revenue is generated during March, April, October and November." said Rob "I think I can absorb the damage for 2 or 3 days but after that I'm going to take a big hit."

So instead of heading to the park today with a group of eager tourist; Rob is on the phone with paying customers.

"I don't know how long the shutdown will last but I have to plan ahead and figure out what I can do for my customers. There are other places to fly fish but it's nothing like fly fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains." said Rob.

Not only is Rob losing out but other businesses are worried about what will happen if the shutdown continues. However, it's just a waiting game until the park opens again.



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