Federal refuges reopen after government shutdown ends
Hunting seasons, fishing resumes after 16-day closure, official says
National wildlife refuges that were closed to all access during the 16-day federal government shutdown reopened early this morning, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official told Louisiana Sportsman.
“When the President signed the bill around midnight last night, all refuges reopened,” said Neil Lalonde, refuge manager for Delta, Breton and Bayou Sauvage national wildlife refuges. “We are back happy to be back at work and welcome all our fishermen and hunters back.”
Lalonde said all offices were open, and refuge Web sites were running. Permit stations also should be stocked.
“The free permits are there,” he said. “The Web sites are back up, so you can print the permits or pick them up at our offices.”
The government shutdown that began Oct. 1 included the closure of every NWR in the nation, with a refuge official telling Louisiana Sportsman that gates would be locked and signs would be posted at entry points where gates are not installed. Enforcement officers will be patrolling to ensure compliance, he said.
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