Effects of the government shutdown reach campgrounds and parks

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 1, 2013 

The effects of the shutdown rippled off post as well, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers's Mobile District saying it was closing campgrounds and parks on West Point Lake north of Columbus.

"We're in the process of doing all of that now," said Bob Chitwood, assistant operations manager at West Point Lake. He said about 70 percent of the 26 staffers at the recreational area were furloughed. The employees include park rangers and personnel operating the dam.

"We have people that we will keep on board to ensure the safety and security of the government facilities here, and public safety and stuff like that," said Chitwood.

"There's nothing pleasant about handing people letters that tell them to go home, and you don't know whether they're going to be able to get paid," he said.

Customers who were scheduled to arrive at the lake Tuesday may cancel their reservations for a full refund, the corps said. They also may leave their reservations open should the shutdown be lifted quickly and the gates reopen.

Campers already on site will be required to vacate the premises by 3 p.m. Wednesday, with refunds being given for portions of their reservations not used, the corps said. These campers also may leave their reservations open for possible use once the shutdown is lifted.

Those wanting a refund should call 1-888-448-1474.

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