Access to all federal refuges is prohibited during the federal shutdown that began today, a federal and official said confirmed. However, state forest land will still be open to hunting and some fishing.
“It started this morning," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services' Pon Dixson said of the shutdown of federal refuges.
The closures will last until the U.S. Congress moves past the current stalemate over the budget.
Dixson said all gates would be locked and signs would be posted at entry points where gates are not installed. Enforcement officers will be patrolling to ensure compliance, he said.
“If we see people, we will ask them to leave,” Dixson said. “We aren’t going to be in the business of writing tickets.”
The U.S. Forest Service's Rick Dillard said that, while all improved and fee areas on property owned by his agency would be closed, hunting will be allowed.
Fishing also will be allowed on watershed lakes, but those lakes with improved facilities like Lake Okhissa will be closed, Dillard said.
Dixson said he was disappointed that the refuges were closed, and added that a compromise over the federal budget couldn’t come too soon.
“I hope those clowns up there get their act together,” he said of congressional leaders.