Thursday, April 7, 2011

“F” Is for Federal Government Shutdown

We keep hearing about the federal budget and how they can’t balance it. Congress is trying to figure out what to do before the end of the week when the United States runs out of money and many National Parks will be closed come Friday at midnight.

Many States will be hard hit by such actions. Already reeling from budget crises within their own states, some are already struggling to provide ‘non-essential’ services. Here, in southern Illinois, visitors get the first glimpse that something is wrong as they enter via the two interstates, I-4 on the east side and I-57 on the west. Both provide informational rest stops run by the state.

In the past, the Metropolis Rest stop and The Trail of Tears Rest Stop just north of Anna both offered an information booth where visitors could get travel, weather and tourist information. Each offered large racks that housed informational flyers on activities throughout the southern region and even up into Chicago. Many is he time I witnessed visitors studying those brochures, smiling and planning trips throughout my home state. Those information booths are now closed and the racks of information tucked away behind steel shutters. There is no money in the Illinois budget to pay an information clerk or anyone to keep the racks stocked.

If the federal government closes down the National Park Service, some of the locations affected in southern Illinois could include Carlysle Lake, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, the Shawnee National Forest and the Smithland Lock and Dam on the Ohio River near Hamletsburg.

Not only would visitors lose access to these wondrous sites but the communities around them that provide food, lodging and other tourist activities will suffer as well. Shutting down the National Park Service may save the country some money but it could also force many mom and pop operations around to shut down, too…permanently.


Marie Anne said...

I think people losing their entire livelihood ranks a bit higher, but there are so many things that would be affected.

I'll lose my total income, except for the few bucks I make writing.

Langley said...

What a mess!

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

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Go to and pick up your award.

Anonymous said...

Our elected officials really need to get their sh*t together.

I'll definitely be back to read more of your posts on this blog. I live near Chicago and have always been a city girl, but I love southern Illinois. I never realized just how beautiful the bottom third of the state is until I went away to college (SIU). At some point (within the next few years, hopefully), we plan to make a move away from the city. Southern Illinois is the top contender for our new home. I keep repeating, "red barn, black & white cow, and room ro roam..." :O)

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