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Shutdown won't stop Bridge Day

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The federal government's partial shutdown will not affect Bridge Day festivities, organizers said.

Some 450 BASE jumpers and 250 rappellers have signed up for the Oct. 19 event. Sharon Cruikshank, director at the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, said she anticipates a busy event.

According to the Bridge Day website, 80,000 people are expected to attend.

"With the shutdown, it's affected the local economy as well as federal employees throughout the state," she said. "I think that people will still come out. ... Even though people are watching their budgets, they can still come out and enjoy the free event."

Last week's shutdown has resulted in national furloughs of federal employees, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, including those at national park services.

Cruikshank said the National Park Services Center at Canyon Rim is shut down but people still may drive to the bottom of the bridge and hike the trails.

According to a recorded message at the New River Gorge National River, "because of the federal government shutdown, all employees have been furloughed." The recording noted employees would not check phone messages until the government reopens.

The New River Convention and Visitors Bureau's visitors center, which is locally owned and operated, remains open, Cruikshank noted.

For the event, Cruikshank noted there will be a few National Park Service rangers on hand and organizers also will work with State Police, the Fayette County Sheriff's Department, the Fayetteville Police Department and the Fayette County Office of Emergency Services.

Cruikshank said even if the government still is shut down by Oct. 19, the event will go on as planned; although, she said she hopes federal issues will be resolved by then.

 "Bridge Day is still a go and we look forward to everyone coming out," she said. "It's always a good day to be out in Fayette County."

Contact writer Andrea Lannom at or 304-348-5148. Follow her at





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