Many federal offices in Wisconsin closed Tuesday as part of the partial government shutdown affecting the nation.

In Dodge County, there were a couple of immediate changes. Most notable was the closure of the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge. About the northern two-thirds of the Horicon Marsh is under control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service contingency plan all activities are closed on federal lands including hunting and fishing as well as using trails and parking areas until the government closes. In addition, all public buildings are closed including visitor centers.

The Friends of the Horicon Wildlife Refuge web page (http://horiconnwrfriends.org/) indicated that a program scheduled for Saturday is canceled unless operations can resume.

The southern portion of the marsh including the Horicon Marsh International Education Center is funded through state government and remains open.

The other immediate closure was U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Juneau. The website provides a link to government contingency plans. (www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans). No one answered the phones on Tuesday afternoon.

A few examples of programs and services that have been affected throughout Wisconsin are:

• The Wisconsin National Guard has furloughed 840 non-essential technicians, but spokesman Maj. Paul Rickert says 210 employees who work in fire and rescue, protective service and key maintenance jobs are exempt from the shutdown. The Guard is keeping military honors personnel on duty to perform services at military funerals this week.

• About 900 civilian employees at Fort McCoy, a sprawling training installation between Sparta and Tomah, have been furloughed. However, spokeswoman Linda Fournier says the fort’s annual deer hunt for disabled people will take place this weekend because it is being run by contractors and training for a South Dakota Army National Guard unit that just arrived will go on as scheduled. The fort’s campground remains open.

• The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin have closed, along with all national parks. Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest spokeswoman Megan Healy says firefighters and law enforcement officers will stay on the job, but campgrounds, boat rentals and other facilities are closed.

• U.S. Geological Survey equipment that keeps tabs on water flow and levels in Wisconsin rivers and streams is operating, but other data collection handled by the USGS Water Science Center in Middleton has stopped. This includes samples taken to monitor water quality. The center works with numerous universities and municipalities on water issues.

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(2) comments

Eaglesnest
Eaglesnest

What a crock of BS! You notice the people that will still be getting paid, for sure! We love the Horicon Marsh and take advantage of the trails and some of the educational programs offered. Can only hope and pray that this issue is settled sooner rather than later. So sorry for all those forced on an unwanted furlough, I assume they have families to support. These are the people we elected into office? Guess I myself made some bad choices.

Amie Wagner Clark
Amie Wagner Clark

It really sucks that we can't even walk the road tour on the Marsh off 49. I'm wondering if we parked on the highway and walked in if we would be arrested. You can't close nature.

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