Campers in South Mississippi feel the impact of the government s - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Campers in South Mississippi feel the impact of the government shutdown

A man tries to pack up his RV before Gulf Islands National Park closes (Photo Source: WLOX) A man tries to pack up his RV before Gulf Islands National Park closes (Photo Source: WLOX)
OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

For more than 50 campers in Gulf Islands National Seashore, the morning began with a blunt message that forced them from their campsites.

“We learned at 7 this morning that this was closing,” said Patti Keeler, a camper from Maine.

The mass exodus of RVs and trailers from the site began shortly after the government shut down at midnight. Campers say they weren’t expecting to leave so soon.

“We kind of thought that this park would have stayed open, so we were kind of surprised, but we had an inkling that it might happen this morning,” replied Keeler.  

While some national parks, like Yosemite, will remain open during the shutdown, Gulf Islands will not.

Park Rangers told everyone the water and power would be shut off at 10 a.m. By 4 p.m., the park had to be empty.

“The camp hosts did seem upset. And obviously going door to door telling people that you need to leave is upsetting and I’m sure he probably did hear some choice words,” said Shelley Young.

Young was one of many who paid to stay at the park through the week.

As they we’re being kicked out, they weren’t told if they would be refunded for the time they didn’t spend there.

“Actually I’m furious, it doesn’t look like it but I’m furious,” said Keeler.

Campers from both sides of the political aisle agree that it isn’t fair for the park rangers to be the ones to bear the backlash.  

“I’m furious that our politicians would choose to put someone else’s interests at heart,” said Young.

“We are very disappointed with our government," commented another woman as she was driving away.

“I hope they can come to the table and realize the impact this is having on all of us,” said Keeler.

Before the gates were locked, some were able to book spots at nearby state-run parks. Others hit the highway, uncertain of where to go next, but mindful of the futures of their elected officials.

The US Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, tweeted that although all of the parks are not open, he is making sure that most are accessible to the public.

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