December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Shutdown ruins local tourists’ tour of national parks

"Closed" signs and barricades sprang up early Tuesday at national parks and many federal workplaces across the country. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

“Closed” signs and barricades sprang up early Tuesday at national parks and many federal workplaces across the country. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

A bus full of Lorain County residents found their plans Tuesday quashed on their way to Chicago.

The residents were on their way to tour national parks, including Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park and the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The stops were planned as part of a bus trip through the Lorain County Office of Aging, which has been planned for nine months, according to Calvin Woods.

Woods, of Wellington, said the group was disheartened to learn that they would not be able to make those stops after the government shut down early Tuesday.

After lawmakers failed to pass a spending bill Monday night, government services, agencies and landmarks were shut down Tuesday. The partial government shutdown included the closure of more than 400 national parks and museums.

Woods said those on the bus trip paid $2,400 with the intention of visiting several of the closed national landmarks. The bus of 30 people continued on to Chicago on Tuesday and will make other stops planned as part of the 16-day trip.

“I can’t cancel it. … These people have been looking forward to the trip for months,” he said.

Woods said he is a volunteer for the Lorain County Office on Aging and was tasked with planning the bus trip. The purpose of the trip is not to make money, he said, but to allow residents to see the country and have fun.

He criticized the government shutdown, which he called a “hostage, blackmail situation.”

“The wrong people are getting hurt,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.