When Susan Gould learned about the government shutdown, her thoughts went to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
"I immediately thought about my park," the 16-year Hudson resident said. "And I do think of it as 'my park.'"
She wasn't sure what to expect Oct. 1, the first day of the shutdown, so she grabbed her bike after work and decided to find out.
"There were definitely less people," she said.
And she did notice the absence of park staff and volunteers. About 109 employees of the park were placed on furlough, and the volunteer center is closed until after the shutdown.
"For people not familiar with the park, with no one here to give them directions or answer questions, it's going to be tough," Gould said.
But other than that, Gould said she really didn't notice much to change her bicycling plans.
She said some trails had signs or rope barriers saying they were closed, but she just went around them.
She's not alone, as dozens of hikers and bikers could be seen Oct. 1 walking and riding along the Towpath Trail, right past signs saying it was closed due to the shutdown.
CVNP Chief Ranger Christopher Ryan is asking park visitors to honor the closure signs.
Gates to the parking and picnic areas are closed, he said, and there are signs indicating the Towpath Trail and other hiking and biking trails are closed.
Ryan, who is supervising the park's shutdown operations, said with so many access points to the 32,000-acre park, the public's help is critical.
While violators of the closure signs could be fined, Ryan said the rangers prefer educating parkgoers about the shutdown and asking them for their cooperation.
Rangers are encouraging visitors to visit the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County and other areas that are still open, he said.
The law enforcement rangers and dispatchers who remain working during the shutdown are there to keep the park and guests safe, he said.
"We could use the public's help to stay out of these closures so it's one less thing we have to worry about," he said.