Theodore Roosevelt National Park Closes Due to Shutdown - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Closes Due to Shutdown

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While you might not think a shutdown directly affects you, dozens of workers in North Dakota have gone home without pay or any idea of when they might go back to work.

As of around noon mountain time Tuesday, around 40 workers at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park go home for the day.

They handed in their time sheets and signed furlough notices before clocking out for an indefinite amount of time.

Their last job assignment for the day is to let people know that the national park is closed for business.

"Best case would be we come back tomorrow, I don't even want to think about the worst case." says Meg Schwartz, Acting Superintendent, Chief of Administration.

Meg Schwartz has lived through a partial shutdown before when she worked at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.

She says it does affect lots of people when the government shuts down.

"Well 40 people are going home today without a paycheck, and we're not sure if and when the government opens again, if we will be paid for the time at all."

"You take those 40 people and all their families and the people that we support through spending our paychecks it kind of blossoms from there." says Schwartz.

The local economy may also suffer.

Medora's mayor says the park is the biggest year-round attraction.

He hopes it opens again soon for his small town's sake.

"We've already had some visitors who were disappointed that was one of the things they came here to do was to tour the national park, suddenly they find out they can't do that, it's having a negative impact already." says Doug Ellison, Mayor of Medora.

"We really wanted to come to North Dakota, we are so disappointed, this government shutdown doesn't make sense to us, we've traveled 4500 miles to come see this and now we aren't going to be able to, so we're very disappointed." says Cathy Morgan, visiting from Alabama.

So are travelers along interstate.

The popular Painted Canyon exit is completely closed to the public.

"We had never been in Theodore park actually and thought we'd take a little rest stop here..." says Eric Grimsrud, visiting from Washington.

"They're closing down restrooms down there and the visitor center and they will lock the gate." says Schwartz.

Locking up a view of the Badlands and crushing some confidence in our nation's leaders.

"The parks are owned by the public, we should have access to the parks we own." says Morgan.

"There are a lot of laws on the books that people don't like but if we use this mechanism to change all the laws, the US will be locked up forever, just like the parks are now." says Grimsrud.

"Our leadership in the Parks Service and the Department of Interior is very supportive of the workers, and I know they value us highly but this is hard on morale, it really is." says Schwartz.

There are still a few workers who are exceptions to the shutdown.

They will still be at the park working on general maintenance and public safety.

The campground and visitors centers are all shut down--and campers have 48 hours to vacate the area.

East River Road is still open to the public within the park.

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