Charlestown – The morning commute in Charlestown was riddled with orange as the government shutdown wielded its crimson sword across the state signaling National park and wildlife refuge closures.
Federal workers reported to work at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center this morning to receive their official furlough notice from superiors.
“I am really uncomfortable right now,” said one worker who did not want to go on record as she drove past the notices and signs posted along the way.
“Due to a lapse in appropriations, all U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lands (FWS), including the Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, are closed for the duration of the federal government shutdown,” said the written notice posted at the gate. “All programs and activities are cancelled.”
The closure prohibits all public access to FWS lands and immediately closes all visitor centers and buildings.
Hunting and fishing activities on federal lands is also prohibited during shutdown. Permitting and consultations are cancelled.
A limited number of activities will remain functional at facilities that operate under funding outside of the government appropriations. The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment Fund activities may have non-lapsing sources available.
Several activities will be allowed to operate under Emergency Exception including Law Enforcement/Refuge Law Emergency Enforcement, Firefighting emergency , care and feeding activities at hatcheries and captive breeding facilities.
Also closed due to the shutdown are the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown, John H Chafee National Wildlife Refuge in Narragansett, Trustom Pond National Wildlife Refuge in South Kingstown, and Block Island National Wildlife Refuge on Block Island.