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Government Shutdown Having Minimal Effect On Illinois Tourism

SPRINGFIELD - One of the victims caught in the ripple effect of the government shutdown is the tourism industry.

SPRINGFIELD - One of the victims caught in the ripple effect of the government shutdown is the tourism industry.

With the the national parks and forests closed, it's creating a big problem for businesses that rely on them, especially during the fall.  But, as Ashley Michels reports, Illinois is able to keep its tourism head above water.

We all have a bucket list, that one thing you have to do during your lifetime.  But, if yours is going up in the St. Louis Arch, you'll have to wait and don't plan on seeing any of the sites in our nation's capitol right now.  They're all closed.  Every national site in the country is off limits until the government shutdown is over.

But, here in Illinois, visitors to our state's only national park have it a little easier.  There are no gates, meaning you can still come and see Abraham Lincoln's home.  You just can't go inside.

So, visitors are checking Abe off their bucket list.  "We can actually read the signs and learn a little bit" says Julie McKinney, a tourist from Texas.  "We can look on our phone and learn a little bit more."

Some though are disappointed.

"I've heard so much about it from my sister" says Eileen Leinhard of California.  "I thought 'oh well that'd be kind of cool', that was kind of the highlight for the day."

But, the fact people are still checking out the home is why one tour guide says he's not worried about losing business.  "It's a little bit of a loss, but it's not a total loss for visitors" says Garrett Moffett.  "I still can give them history a little bit out here on the street.  They can still stand out in front and be inspired by the awe and the history that took place here."

Moffett says he hopes he can take groups back inside Lincoln's home soon.  But, in the meantime, they'll make do.  "You've just got to go with the flow, that's part of traveling."

The government shutdown of 2013 is the first in almost 20 years.  The last one happened in '95-'96 and lasted four weeks.

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