Government Shutdown

Oct 8, 2013 9:12 PM by Jamie Leary - MTN News

Government shutdown hits towns near Yellowstone NP

WEST YELLOWSTONE - The stalemate that triggered the federal government shutdown continues in Washington, DC, with no end in sight.

Congressman Steve Daines says that more than 10,000 federal employees have been furloughed in Montana, but the effects of the shutdown extend much further.

The closure of Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park have hit close to home for residents and business owners who live near the tourism hot spots.

Jennifer Summers is one of many Montana residents who are feeling the impacts of the government shutdown.

"It's kind of changed my lifestyle here a little bit, you know," said Summers. "I didn't have to take out student loans before and now, I possibly might have to. So, it's just kind of a scary thing for me."

"I've seen my neighbors laid off and hanging out at the house, not knowing when they're going back to work and they're pretty disgusted about it," added Eric Klas of Bozeman.

While Congressional leaders work to find a resolution to the partial federal government shutdown, Montanans are feeling the impacts - especially with Yellowstone National Park being closed.

"We would expect normally to get about 138,000 recreational visits during the month of October," Yellowstone National Park spokesman Al Nash told us. "We had almost 690 national park service staff on duty on Sept. 30. We have just over 100 everyday now."

Only people living inside the park are allowed into Yellowstone, and from what we've been hearing, the impact of no visitors is far reaching.

"Bozeman, Billings, Cody - and even Jackson [Hole] are feeling the impacts of Yellowstone being closed to visitors," said Nash.

Tourist Helaine Lemons was one of those who expressed disappointment about the gates being locked at Yellowstone.

"It's something I look forward to, it's something that's very special for me and we haven't been able to do it."

"Instead of just closing down the country, they better get themselves together and start figuring things out in a more adult way," Lemons added.

Nash told us that in just the first seven days of October, Yellowstone National Park would have put more than $5 million into area economy, so he says there is a very real economic impact as the gates at Yellowstone National Park remain shuttered.

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