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Refuge, FSA shut down due to ‘lapse in appropriations’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 October 2013 at 12:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers – Tom Roster, manager of the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, stands outside the new visitor center and administration building on Casey Road in Basom in this file photo from April. The refuge closed today because of the government shutdown.

BASOM – Want to go see the birds or go for a nature walk at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge? Too bad. The refuge is closed as part of the impasse in Congress over a new budget.

Farmers and landowners also can’t access the staff at the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which both have offices in Albion.

A new federal fiscal year started at midnight without a budget in place. Many federal employees have been furloughed.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is very much aware that any lapse in appropriations imposes hardships on those we serve,” the government agency stated. “Due to this event, the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge will be closed to the public.”

Refuge staff will respond to emergencies regarding human life or property, but public access to the 10,808-acre refuge is prohibited and fish and wildlife management activities and public programs will be cancelled during the government shutdown. This includes all recreational activities like hunting, fishing, bird watching and hiking. The refuge is in the towns of Shelby and Alabama.