Bradenton's De Soto National Memorial could be victim of government shutdown

5:41 PM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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Bradenton, Florida - Visitors to De Soto National Memorial come for a touch of trail, the wet of water, and a hit of history. Darlene Tschiember visits a couple times a week.

"I like when you walk along the trails, you can see different things, the birds and then you see the water on the other side," said Tschiember, after showing the place to her sister.

The Bradenton park tells the story of Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto's journey through Florida in 1539.

"De Soto's ships were coming through this area," explains park superintendent Jorge Acevedo, pointing to the waters of Tampa Bay.

But Monday, Acevedo and other park staff are preparing for an unwanted trip through the territory of government shutdown.

"There hasn't been anything finalized, we continue to get updates with what's looming in Washington," said Acevedo. "Hopefully all of this is a practice exercise and nothing has to be implemented."

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If Congress doesn't approve a spending bill, the park would close, because it's part of the national park system. Acevedo would report to duty to keep an eye on the 25 acres, but eight other employees would be furloughed. And the hundreds of visitors each day would encounter closed gates. 

"I would be upset, frustrated-mad," said Tschiember thinking about the prospect.

With its serene views, the park seems an awful long way from the stresses of Washington, but what happens there-hits home here.

See also: Government shutdown would be felt far beyond Capitol Hill 

Tschiember says, "It's really terrible....that Congress can't get themselves together."

 

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