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Ding Darling sees impact of Government Shutdown

Posted at 12:02 AM, Jan 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-22 00:02:02-05

SANIBEL, Fla. -- The Federal Government shutdown is trickling down through Southwest Florida. One of the places of it's impact is at the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. 

“It’s how these things filter down in ways that we don’t expect," said Megan Thoma, a first time visitor. 

Thoma and other visitors were met with signs posted from Ding Darling administration, explaining that some exhibits would be closed due to the shutdown. 

The Refuge released this statement to Fox 4: 

"Due to the lapse in federal appropriations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is unable fully to staff the properties under its management. It is not feasible to close or otherwise prohibit all access to National Wildlife Refuge System properties. Refuge visitors are advised to use extreme caution if choosing to enter units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as FWS personnel will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, maintenance, or emergency response on Refuge System property. Any entry onto Refuge System property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk."

The shutdown means thousands of workers at government agencies or government-owned property won’t be showing up to work and visiting Ding Darling fans weren't happy about it. 

“They’ve had plenty of time to figure this out and they wait until midnight the last night for it to shutdown," explained Thoma. 

Another visitor said, "I’m really disappointed that they haven’t figured out a way to work things out with one another.” 

Visitors say while they wait for the government to work out their issues, the closing of national parks is a good opening for two opposing political parties to come together. 

“I think maybe that this could be a great opportunity for them to try to figure out how they’re going to work together," said Tim Specht, a regular visitor of Ding Darling. 

Ding Darling says the Wildlife Drive, Indigo Trail, The Bailey Tract, and Tarpon Bay Explorers will remain open.