Blue Ridge hotel defies Park Service shutdown

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Asked about the intimidation, he said that may be too strong a word, but “when you’ve got uniformed rangers directing you to cease operations, that’s what I call intimidation.”

He said he didn’t question the rangers, who he said were doing their jobs, but did question the way the park service handled it. He said he never heard from the park superintendent nor has he gotten a certified letter, but rather was sent an email from someone in the park business office telling him to close.

“I don’t even know it’s official,” he said.

The park superintendent’s office didn’t return a message left seeking comment on Friday.

For Mr. O'Connell, the fight is about taking a stand.

“If not now, when? If not me, who?” he said.

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