Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
Government Shutdown Hits Rend Lake
REND LAKE -- The partial government shutdown is impacting national parks and federal recreation areas in southern Illinois.
The Army Corps of Engineers began shutting down facilities at Rend Lake Tuesday morning. No new visitors are being allowed in and those already camping at the sites are being asked to leave by Wednesday evening.
"I'm a little disappointed," said camper Ron Dickey. "We got a couple of things we wanted to do. We are going to try and hurry and get it all in before we get packed up and leave."
Dickey makes the trip from Festus, Missouri to the Rend Lake campgrounds every year, usually staying for two weeks. On Tuesday, park officials told Dickey he would have to leave due to the government shutdown.
"Fall camping is very popular here so there is some several hundred campers here who will have to be notified," said Rend Lake Park Administrator Mark Roderick.
Many facilities around the lake will be closed indefinitely, except for those at Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area.
"The state areas are open," said Roderick. "The waters at Rend Lake are open. All of our hunting areas are open, so hunters can still come out. It's just our recreation facilities that are closed."
Those facilities include 26 boat ramps, 4 campgrounds and 22 day use areas.
Terry Hackett made the trip to Rend Lake from Paris, Illinois for a weeklong visit. He says he's upset the government is impacting his plans.
"I think if they are going to close down the government they ought to send everybody home," said Hackett. "I'm talking Secret Service, Air Force One. If they are going to shutdown all the facilities, send them all home."
Wind: 9 MPH
Humidity: 68 %