Government shutdown closes Crater Lake

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - Nearly 300 people are being laid off at Crater Lake National Park - employees of the park and the concessionaire - as a result of the federal government shutdown.

Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman said Tuesday that 10 park employees were still working: two snowplow drivers, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, operators of the water treatment and sewage treatment plants, and a human resources staffer to oversee the layoffs.

Otherwise the entrances to the park were barricaded, and guests at Crater Lake Lodge and campgrounds were given until Thursday to leave, he said. Film crews for a commercial and the movie "The Wild," based on a memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, were also shut out of the park.

"I told our staff this morning," he said. "Someone asked, 'When could we expect to be called back?' I said it could be hours, days or weeks."

Other National Park Service properties - such as Oregon Caves, John Day Fossil Beds and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park- were also shut down.

Hunters looking forward to the opening of waterfowl season in Eastern Oregon this weekend will not be able to hunt on national wildlife refuges. They are closed to all visitors, whether hunters, bird-watchers or hikers. But national forests and U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands were open to deer, bear and cougar hunters. However, campgrounds on those federal lands were closed. Elk season, when many hunters camp out for the week, does not start until Oct. 12 in the Cascades region. However, many hunters set up camp in areas other than developed campgrounds, said Dave Bradbury of Bradbury's Gun 'N' Tackle in Grants Pass.

Matt O'Connor, chairman of the Rogue Valley chapter of Ducks Unlimited, said he expected to see a lot more hunters around him on Upper Klamath Lake, because they were shut out of national wildlife refuges.

"It's going to be a big impact on the numbers of people that normally hunt those refuges," he said.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campgrounds, boat ramps and visitor centers were closed, but operations continued at dams and navigation locks, the agency said in a statement.

BLM closed the office handling float permits for the wild section of the Rogue River, but private and commercial boaters were allowed to float the restricted area as if the permit season were over, said BLM spokeswoman Jody Weil. The season normally runs through Oct. 15.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)