Utah national parks, military workers feels bite of government shutdown
Congress passed a measure late Monday to make sure active duty military members get paid. McIntyre said that covers some guardsmen, though it's unclear whether others will get their checks on time.
"It's a good reminder to the citizens that the military is an instrument of policy," he said. "We're dependent on the executive branch and on the legislative branch to do our mission. We can't operate independently. We need their support and the resources. When those resources aren't there, we can't provide the level of service that citizens are entitled to, and that's unfortunate."
Inaction in Congress also shuttered 60 Bureau of Land Management recreation sites in Utah, including Little Sahara Recreation Area, and campgrounds in the Moab area, Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River, Desolation Canyon on the Green River, and the San Juan River.
"I actually have had to postpone all guided hikes I'd been scheduled to do. It's been quite the headache," said Adam Provance, a wilderness and desert guide. He said the shutdown makes it difficult to do good fall hikes because many of them are on federal lands.
The BLM furloughed all but six of its 750 employees in the state. It also suspended activities such as timber sales, wild horse adoptions and work on resource management plans, including those driven by court deadlines.
The U.S. Forest Service closed developed campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the state but kept the forests opening for hunting, fishing, hiking and driving.
The shutdown also poses a challenge to Head Start programs, which offer early childhood education to low-income families. According to a statement released Tuesday by the National Head Start Association, as many as 23 programs in 11 states failed to renew their annual grants before the shutdown, leaving roughly 19,000 children without access to Head Start services.
In Utah, the Salt Lake CAP Head Start — the largest Head Start program in the state covering Salt Lake and Tooele counties — has already received its funding allocation for 2014. But some non-academic programs, such as the Child and Adult Care Food Program, are funded only through October and would require a scaling back of services if the shutdown goes into November.
“We’re not as nervous, but since we’ve already been hit by sequestration previous to this, we’re of course a little on guard,” said Joni Clark, community partnerships manager for Salt Lake CAP Head Start.
Morgan Bridge considers herself one of Zion National Park's biggest fans. The 22-year-old Southern Utah University grad figures she has hiked Angel's Landing more than 20 times.
Bridge said she heard talk of people going there because they could hike for free during the closure.
"I know I would. I'm surprised I'm not there today," she said.
Bridge said she doesn't know who to blame for the government shutdown.
"It's just people not getting along. They have to compromise at some point," she said.
Contributing: Benjamin Wood
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