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Gov't shutdown impacting Lake Mead Conservation Area


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Gov't shutdown impacting Lake Mead Conservation Area

By Jennifer Kastner. CREATED Sep 30, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The government shutdown has led to the closure of Lake Mead National Conservation Area, meaning 170 permanent park employees are without work and will remain furloughed indefinitely.

Approximately 14,500 people will now be denied access to the park each day, costing the local economy about $500,000 in revenue for each day it's closed.

Employees said the closure also poses a safety threat to people who may wander in, because there will no longer be emergency services on standby.

"It's really challenging to close a national park like this national recreation area. We're the size of Delaware. We're a very large park with 1.5 million acres and hundreds of access points. We're not able to man every access point, so it's possible that a visitor could come into the park unknowingly," said Christie Vanover, Lake Mead National Conservation Area.

Local military families were nervous for much of the day on Monday, over the looming threat that American troops could lose their paychecks. But President Obama ensured the country that the government will continue paying the troops on time.

Valley military support groups such as the Blue Star Mothers are relieved.

"I'm sure it's a huge lift off their shoulders. To see them suffer with worrying about where their money is going to come from and to have that lingering in the back of their minds, it's not fair to them," said Frances West, local chapter president.

Troops in uniform will remain on duty as usual, but Department of Defense civilians could face furloughs.