Because of politics, the gates are locked at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge and a Washington hunter has lost what may be his last chance in a lifetime to hunt elk with a special permit.
River rafters collectively have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on Grand Canyon trips scuttled by the impasse thousands of miles away in Washington, D.C.
Federal campgrounds are closed as hunting seasons are peaking.
Outfitters can’t get the required permits to float eagle-watching clients down the Sauk and Skagit rivers because Forest Service offices have been closed as national forest employees are furloughed without pay.
While Congressmen and their staffs continue to draw salaries and show up for work in limos, ordinary people have had their dreams smashed since Oct. 1 by a senseless shutdown of federal government services and closure of some federal lands.
Recreationists who fuel millions of dollars into local economies are in the thick of the heartburn.
Hints emerged on Wednesday that a settlement may be brewing in the nation’s capital, but that would be too late for victims of adventures lost.
Among the hardest hit are rafters being turned away this week in Arizona from prized Colorado River trips through the Grand Canyon. Some groups have been applying for 10-15 years to draw a coveted permit valid for a single launch day. The Park Service notifies lucky groups a year and a half in advance for trips in this prime-time period so they can make the formidable preparations for floats that run 22-30 days through the ruggedly remote scenic waterway.
A group of 16 can have at least $30,000 invested in a trip in addition to travel costs and a month of vacation time they must invest without chance of reimbursement.
The closure that’s affected 401 national parks in the past week is only the second time the Grand Canyon has been shut down since it opened in 1919.
Boat launch closures along the Columbia River in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area are ruining anglers’ plans during a prime period for trout fishing. The impact branches out to lost revenue for sporting goods stores and small businesses in surrounding towns such as Davenport.
More than one sportsman and business owner is pointing out the obvious: While the federal budget shutdown is a haggle over a law that’s already been debated and passed, the budgets of ordinary citizens are being hammered.
Closure of Turnbull Wildlife Refuge already has trashed most of the week-long season for nine muzzleloaders that drew special cow-elk tags.