STEARNS, Ky. (WKYT) - The Blue Herron Mining Camp sits right smack in the middle of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. It's one of many places in McCreary County that will be closed if the government shuts down.
David and Karen Dobbs are from Indiana, but have a lot of family in McCreary County. Some of those family members had ancestors whose livelihood is now recognized in history and has become a tourist attraction.
“Hearing them talk about their stories. Coming down and seeing where they grew up. I mean, it’s a coal mining camp, but it is our national heritage,” said Dobbs.
If the government shuts down, National Parks and attractions such as these will be closed. It will impact campgrounds and certain roads in areas patrolled by the National Parks Service.
“It’s going to hurt the economy, it’s going to hurt peoples' lives, because many might lose jobs, they’re going to see their hours cut. How do you pay your bills with something like that?” he said.
The Big South Fork Scenic Railway is privately owned and will still operate, yet it won’t stop at the Blue Herron Mine.
“I mean tourism is probably the big industry here. This is what puts food on the table for many in this part of Kentucky,” said Dobbs.
The shutdown could not come at a worse time because business owners say October is the second busiest time of the year for tourism in this area.