Government shutdown hits reservoir, USDA

Staff writer

In light of the recent federal government shutdown on Tuesday, no new visitors will be allowed into, or reservations accepted for, campgrounds at the Marion County Reservoir operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“What I know right now is that we were told to report today,” Marion reservoir office clerk Torey Hett said Tuesday. “We are in the process of shutting down the park and public use areas, that includes the campsites, boat ramps, and swim beaches.”

Hett had taken many phone calls Tuesday morning. He said that unless things change, the government-operated portions of the reservoir were scheduled to close at 8 p.m. today.

“It could change tonight or it could take a couple of weeks,” Park Ranger Scott Dodson said. “Everybody is waiting to see if we are coming back to work.”

Dodson said that all five of the personnel employed by the Army Corps of Engineers would be staying home from work during the shutdown.

Nationally, there are a limited number of Corps projects and operations exempt from the government shutdown that will continue to operate for national security and safety, including navigation, hydropower, and operation of floodgates.

Hett said Marion Reservoir dam would continue to operate during the shutdown.

In addition, portions of the reservoir not funded by the government will continue to operate.

“Durham Cove will remain open,” Hett said. “But it is managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Tourism.”

Dodson said that gate attendants would also be working and available to answer questions until mid-October because their hours were decided upon ahead of time and their contracts were paid in advance.

A news release provided by the Army Corps of Engineers said that there are refunds and partial refunds available for campers who have reservations interrupted by the shutdown.

For refunds, contact reservation customer service at (888) 448-1474. For more information about park closures, call (918) 669-7365 or go to www.usace.army.mil.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Two signs were posted Tuesday on the door of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Marion.

One read, “This U.S. Department of Agriculture office is currently closed, due to the lapse in federal government funding. The office will reopen once congress restores funding.”

The other, printed red ink, read as follows, “Due to the Federal Government shutdown, this office is closed.” It continued in blue ink, “We regret any inconvenience.”

 

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