Government Shutdown Closes Recreation Areas in So. Illinois
WSIL -- The partial government shutdown is impacting recreation areas in southern Illinois.
Services at Shawnee National Forest, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge and Rend Lake are shut down.
Mike Petersen, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis, tells News 3 that Army Corps-maintained boat ramps and day-use areas are being closed at both Rend Lake and Carlyle Lake. No new visitors are being allowed in, and those already camping at the sites are being asked to leave by Wednesday evening.
However, camping sites and boat ramps do remain open at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park at Rend Lake.
All public activities have been cancelled at the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. Barriers have been put in place to block access to the area.
"Only limited functions will continue, such as those necessary to respond to emergencies, perform essential functions and to protect human life or personal property," the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated in a news release Tuesday.
Calls to Shawnee National Forest offices in Harrisburg and Vienna went unanswered Tuesday morning. A recorded greeting told callers that employees were "on furlough due to a lapse in federal government funding" and asked that they leave a message that would be returned once funding was restored.
A message posted on the U.S. Forest Service website says the agency is closed "with the exception of certain essential services." The message directs viewers to the U.S. Department of Agriculture website for more information on shutdown procedures, but the USDA website reads, "Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available. After funding has been restored, please allow some time for this website to become available again."
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