Refuge closed, employees on second week of furlough

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Brice Prairie, Wis. (WXOW) – The National Wildlife Refuge System is closed due to the partial government shutdown. That includes a partial or soft closure of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in the La Crosse area. Most of their staff is furloughed.

It’s not the first shutdown the wildlife refuge has gone through and this time it’s not as restrictive. A previous government shutdown in October 2013 saw a complete closure, including boats landings and trails. This time, those remain open for use.

With some exceptions like law enforcement and some maintenance workers, most of their staff is furloughed and the visitors center in Brice Prairie is closed until further notice. With that limitation, the public is reminded to keep safety in mind should you go out on those lands.

“We just ask that the public know that there aren’t staff out there,” Visitors Services Manager Hallie Rasmussen said. “Safety is in their hands.”

Employees there have now been furloughed for two weeks. They now have to wait on Washington to come to an agreement so they can head back to work and get a paycheck again.

Sam Shilts

Sam Shilts

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