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Camping Cut Short

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WEST GLACIER -

Hiking, biking, and taking in the sights are all put on hold at Glacier National Park as the government shutdown closed every national park Tuesday, October 1.

It is not a welcoming scene on the Going to the Sun Road in West Glacier, but these signs and barricades were the only clue Caleb Demers had that his stay would be cut short.

"We were following it, but there's no service near the parks normally so we didn't have any means of knowing it, so we showed up and there was a bunch of signs getting put up and stuff, so we kind of asked around and they said you can't go in there," explained Demers, a would-be camper in the Park.

About 250 Glacier National Park employees reported to work Tuesday only to be furloughed until further notice. The twenty-five workers still in the park are providing security, emergency services, and doing what they can to spread the word that campers only have forty-eight hours to leave the grounds before the possibility of fines.

"We care about the resource," said Denise Germann, spokeswoman for the Park, "We care about the visitor, so telling folks 'hey, you're not welcome today because we're closed,' that's really hard for most of us to do."

"We were given like forty-eight hours to vacate," said Demers, "but we had already vacated so now we're just kind of on the street."

Demers, originally from the east coast, is traveling across the continent, stopping to use his national park pass frequently. He says that for now he will stick to state parks.

"I hope the government does their job and figures it out quick enough so I can enjoy myself along with every other American who's trying to get into a national park," said Demers.

Until congress reaches a deal, though, the National Park Service will not even be tweeting.

While some businesses in the Apgar area on private land will remain accessible for owners, all Glacier concession services and facilities will be closed.

In past years, the Park has seen anywhere between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors during the month of October.

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