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Government Shutdown Reaches As Far As Assateague Island

Many would-be park-goers near Assateague Island were turned away Tuesday.
Bryan Russo
Many would-be park-goers near Assateague Island were turned away Tuesday.

The federal government shutdown has forced national parks all over the country to close. Shutting down a massive national park like Assateague Island isn't quite as easy as locking a door or throwing up a few barricades at the gate.

It's a beautiful day at Assateague Island National Seashore, but the flashing signs notifying visitors of the government shutdown are as noticeable as the steady stream of cars and campers leaving the island.

John Thurber of Silver Spring, Md., was kicking back on a lounge chair at his campsite with a Western novel for a little downtime, even as other folks around him were packing up to leave.

"When I checked in, I asked what would happen if the shutdown occurred and they said they would let us know by 11 a.m. today, and that hasn't happened yet," said Thurber.

Park officials spent the morning getting eager surfers off the beach, and moving the hundred or so campers from the federally-run side of the park, which will be closed indefinitely, to the state run side of the park, which will remain open.

That's likely the destination for campers like John Thurber if they choose to stay.

And as for the 60+ park employees, setting up barricades and moving campers is going to be the last paid work they do for the foreseeable future.

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