North Carolina inn reopens after challenging government shutdown closure

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 10, 2013 1:38 PM
North Carolina inn reopens after challenging government shutdown closure

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A North Carolina mountain inn on public land has reopened for business after its owner took legal action to protest its closure by the National Park Service last week as part of the partial federal government shutdown.

Bruce O'Connell, whose family has run the Pisgah Inn along the Blue Ridge Parkway since the late 1970s, fought back after being forced to close his 51-room inn at the height of the fall tourism season.

A Park Service spokesman did not have immediate details on Thursday about why the inn, located in buildings and on land owned by the U.S. government, was allowed to resume its operations.

The scenic, 469-mile parkway has remained open during the standoff over the budget, but visitor centers, campgrounds and restrooms are closed, along with U.S. parks across the country.

O'Connell told Reuters he had hired two attorneys, one on Washington, DC and one in North Carolina, to file in federal court for an injunction blocking the closure of the inn.

He refused to specify why the National Park Service allowed the inn to reopen, but told the Asheville Citizen-Times that government officials agreed in exchange for his abandoning the legal complaint.

The inn operator was in no mood on Thursday to talk further about his showdown with the government, which has been partially shuttered for 10 days.

"I just am over it," he told Reuters. "I want to get back to flipping eggs and making beds."

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Scott Malone and Dan Grebler)