GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Wildlife workers sent home without pay as Florida parks sit closed indefinitely

U.S. park visitors are being turned away

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- - Federal workers throughout the South Florida area were sent home on Tuesday and their pay was docked due to the government shutdown.

No one was going in or out of the gates at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, the entrance remained sealed shut.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife workers are unsure of when or if they will return to work.

"I guess it could be correlated to a ghost town. There is no activity," said Ranger Jacob Tuttle with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

With the government shutdown in place, Tuttle was forced to turn away several visitors as they approached the gates.

"It's not an ideal situation. But just like me coming to work today and I'm not 100% sure I'll get paid or people who have to go home and get furloughed, they're in the same situation," said Tuttle.

Normally, the boardwalk at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge would be packed full of people. Instead, 144,000 acres of land will now sit mostly empty.

"Those employees who work here, they're here to protect this resource. When they're not here, this resource doesn't get protected," said Tuttle.

Students also do not get to go on field trips to witness and study the intimate moments of nature.
    
It is a shifting landscape that could change if Congress does not act.

"Eventually the recourses will be impacted if it goes on too long," said Tuttle. "I would ask them to pay attention."

The Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge will remained closed until further notice.
 

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