Government Shutdown Forces Closure of Corps of Engineers Parks

As a result of the government shutdown, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is closing the parks it operates."We're very disappointed, because we do a lot of work in many areas," said Corps Spokesperson Ross Adkins.Park rangers spent Tuesday bringing campers vouchers and asking them to leave their campsites, due to the halt of government funds. Visitors must leave all Corps-operated campgrounds and day-use parks by Wednesday at 8 p.m. Volunteers are continuing to survey the campsites for safety reasons.Several campers had heard of the Congressional gridlock but did not get official notice of the closure until Tuesday."We're looking for another place to stay right now," said camper Donald Broughton. He said he visits Washington Irving Campgrounds at Keystone every chance he gets. He said he is saddened to see it close down and to hear about the government furloughs.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employs 650 people in the Tulsa District. Adkins said the Corps is paying many employees with money left over from a past budget. When that money runs out, many will likely face furlough.Essential U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operations, like dams, waterways, and powerhouses, will continue.State parks are not closing.Parks will re-open if the shutdown is lifted. For updated park closures, call 918-669-7365.