Iconic federal parks close with government shut down
By Jessica Creagan
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- For as long as the federal government shuts its doors and its coffers, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge will also be closed.
A day trip to Sebastian Inlet State Park, a cruise along the St. Sebastian River or a hike in the St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park is still possible, as these parks are not run by the federal government, but rather by the state.
All programs run at the federally funded parks will be closed, as will any activities, such as bookstores, run by nonprofit organizations raising money for the parks on park property.
The federal government shutdown that began Oct. 1 saw the closing of many government agencies and refuges and parks, including the first national wildlife refuge in the country, Pelican Island, established in 1903.
The Facebook page associated with the refuge is still available, but the official website redirects page visitors to the general website of the Department of the Interior.
A press release from the Department of the Interior says the shutdown is projected to cost the National Park Service $450,000 per day in lost revenue from fees collected at entry stations and fees paid for in-park activities such as cave tours, boat rides and camping.
Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is free to enter when the refuge is open.
The Fish and Wildlife Service office in Vero Beach was also closed as a result of the shutdown.
The employees at the refuge and the Fish and Wildlife Service office are furloughed without pay.