LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)- If the looming government shutdown takes effect, National Parks will be some of the first agencies to close including Hot Springs National Park in central Arkansas.
Forty of the 46 park staff will be furloughed on Tuesday. The remaining six will continue with park upkeep and safety until further notice. But one of the major impacts of a park closure will be on local residents who utilize public coldwater fountains, which will also be shut down on Tuesday. "It's really sad that people cannot come get healthy drinking water," says Billy Lain. "I use the water for drinking, cooking, and for my tea and coffee."
Thousands of residents and visitors use public coldwater fountains including some of the residents in rural areas who don't have tap water at their homes. "I can't afford to go and buy water so if they cut this down we don't know what we're going to do," adds Donna Booth. "Where we live at there's nothing but well water."
Park Superintendent Josie Fernandez tells THV the warm water fountains will not be shut off to preserve the park's underground piping system but the visitor's center and mountain tower will be closed in addition to the cold water fountains.