Port Louisa Wildlife Refuge Among Nat'l Attractions Now Closed - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Port Louisa Wildlife Refuge Among Nat'l Attractions Now Closed



     The Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge is among the many national parks and monuments across the country closed in the government shutdown. At the wildlife refuge near Wapello, Iowa the closure is impacting a normally busy time of year for people to utilize the area.
       "Closed due to a lapse in appropriations." The sign at one of the entrances to the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge says it all. It's what folks like Bruce Bryant ran into Tuesday. 
      "Got here and seen there was a gate across the road and I couldn't get back there," said Bryant. "You don't think about all the things it affects until you go to do something and you can't do it."
      He was one of several fishermen, hikers or sightseers turned away after the refuge manager had to lock the gates closing it to the public. That includes access to regularly used boat ramps and a pier until further notice.
     "Hopefully they don't shut it down too long. I don't know what they're going to do about duck hunters and bow season opened up today," said Lonnie Claster, another fisherman.
      "The not knowing is the hardest part. It's hard to plan our normal fall activities and this is actually a really busy time of year for us normally," said Refuge Manager Cathy Henry.
     Henry is also the only person out of seven employees that will work through the shutdown. She handed furlough notices to the others today. "It's not easy to tell people to go home and we might not get paid. We don't know."
     For now, she'll be running things like water management in preparation for the fall waterfowl migration on her own. Some routine operations and maintenance likely won't get done along with some scheduled biological surveys. Also, because programs and activities are canceled, there are even wildlife education classes planned for school groups next week in jeopardy.
     "We'll just have to wait and see what happens. Just do what we can to keep the facility ready to reopen," added Henry.


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