"We just remain as upbeat as we possibly can and hopeful that a shutdown won't happen," Supervising Park Ranger Kent Cave said.
But if the federal government shuts down Friday at midnight, then the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will shut down, too.
"All right Miss Vanessa. Have you ever ridden a horse before?" a guide asked 6-year-old Vanessa Kelly Thursday as she mounted a horse.
Vanessa and her family traveled from Michigan to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Sugarlands Riding Stables at the park are part of their spring vacation.
"This next couple of weeks would be as busy as middle of the summer. That's when you as a company expect to do good business," Sugarlands Riding Stables Owner Kenny Kear said.
The stables are a concessioner under contract with the federal government and administered by the National Park Service.
If the government shuts down, then the park will close gates, cutting off access to roads, trails, visitor centers, and the riding stables.
"We would do that in as orderly a fashion as we can," Kent Cave said.
In the event of a shutdown, some essential park staff would probably remain, like law enforcement rangers.
But most workers would be sent home on unpaid furlough.
It would be unsafe for visitors to be in the park without enough park workers on hand for search and rescue operations.
"If people have reservations for certain areas like the picnic pavilions, we are trying to contact them and let them know that there's a possibility of a shutdown," Cave said.
Even the possibility of a shut down could keep visitors away from the park and businesses like the riding stables.
"It's like having a cloudy sky. you don't go riding with a cloudy sky, even though it's not raining. Well, the clouds are there. They know that there's a possibility they're not going to get to do the things they want to do if they come here so some of them are just not going to come," Kenny Kear said.
Even if the shut down closes the park and his business, Kear will be at work Saturday morning.
"Even if the government shuts down, horses eat," he said. "So we're still going to have enough people here to care for the animals."
Animals that gave Vanessa Kelly her very first horse ride.
The park does not yet know if Highway 441 through the park would remain open or close during a shut down.