Government shutdown targets national parks including Sleeping Bear Dunes
The concern over the potential government shutdown has spread into northern Michigan and could have an impact on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
â??It would be a big loss for a lot of people, myself included,â?? said Winifred Weidman who was visiting the dunes Monday.
The thought of not being able to tour the Sleeping Bear Dunes has some people feeling uneasy.
â??This would be uncomfortable. It wouldn't affect us this year but the fact that so many people could not enjoy this areaâ?¦ would be kind of tragic,â?? said visitor Dennis Raymond. â??We came back basically because the possibility that there will be a closure and... wanted to have one more trip here.â??
If closed, the park will not be bringing tourists through the small towns and businesses along Lake Michigan.
â??We're going to play it by ear right now but we might have to close early,â?? said Jeffrey Colby, owner of Horizons 'n Sunsets in Empire.
If the government does shut down, 60 employees who work at the national park would be laid off without pay until a deal is reached. No matter what happens Monday in Washington, national park service employees will come into work Tuesday morning. If a deal is not reached they will be given four hours to close the park and tie up loose ends and not return until Congress gives them the go-ahead.
â??The preparations really center around how we're going to notify the public with statements on the webpage and signage because you have to notify people who are planning to visit as well as those who are arriving or have already arrived,â?? said Tom Ulrich, Deputy Superintendent at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
All areas of the park, including the visitors center, scenic drive and campgrounds are at risk of being closed to visitors.
â??We'll have to go through the campgrounds (Tuesday) if this indeed takes place and notify the campersâ?¦ I just hope they consider that we all want to work and it's an amazing place. We'd like to keep it open.â??
If the park does shut down it will not be the first time. National parks closed their gates at the end of the year in 1995 due to a government shutdown.