Federal Shutdown Frustrates Crater Lake Visitors

Oct 2, 2013

Crater Lake National Park is closed due to the federal government shutdown—opening up problems for visitors from across the country and across the globe.

Credit Gifford Photographic Collection

From the Herald and News in Klamath Falls, Devan Schwartz reports.

As early-season snow piles up at Crater Lake National Park, employees are being sent home and visitors turned away. Not because of inclement weather but because of the government shutdown.

Only a handful of employees are being kept on for law enforcement and other emergency operations.

Diana and Dennis Burchak drove from Cle Elum, Washington to stay at the historic Crater Lake Lodge.

Diana Burchak: “We were hoping that if we could drive around and stay here then we would have time to go out on some of the trails and totally enjoy the beauty of this site — but Congress decided otherwise.”

Other Crater Lake visitors traveled from much farther away. Duncan and Helen Fortune came from Scotland to see America’s national parks. But Duncan says it may be Canada next time.

Duncan Fortune: “A country that's supposed to be the leader of the free world can't get its budget together — it's a joke. We can go to holiday in Canada, where they don't shut the parks, why come here?”

Park spokesperson Marsha McCabe worked a short last day before her furlough began. She laments the park closure.

McCabe: “Our whole point is to provide for visitor enjoyment and to preserve the resources – so when you can't provide for the visitor enjoyment you're not able to do your job.”

As Congress goes back and forth about whose fault the shutdown is, perhaps the situation can best be summed up by Katy O’Neill. Her Crater Lake camping trip was cut short, and she may miss out on rock climbing at Yosemite National Park.

O’Neill: “It's definitely a bummer.”

For Jefferson Public Radio, I’m Devan Schwartz