DEKALB COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -While many national parks are suffering from the partial shutdown of the federal government, one in Alabama is getting help from Jacksonville State University.
A welcome center run by JSU at Little River Canyon National Park, is still up and running.
JSU employees and volunteers, staff the front desk, run the gift shop, and even show visitors a documentary about Little River Canyon.
Park Rangers often do most of that, but they're not at work right now.
"We've even extended our services to trash collections at those beautiful overlooks," says the Center's director, Pete Conroy. "And so for now, we're doing all we can to help out, but we really do miss our partners."
The volunteers are also warning tourists not to hike too far into the woods, because the park rangers aren’t around to rescue them if they happen to get lost.
"This is not a sustainable model," Conroy warns. "We're really glad to help as long as we can, and as much as we can. But when visitors now come to the canyon center, we remind them that there's added risk, you know. Don't go on those hikes way back into the forest, because the national park folks aren't going to be there to rescue you if something happens.
JSU opened the center 12 years ago and partners with Government Services Organization to keep it running.