HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The U.S. Forest Service is one of the many departments closed during the government shutdown.
“It’s affected us. Not only with the lakes being closed and them being closed it’s just slowed us down,” said Donna McCarty, a nearby employee at a convenience store.
It’s located next to Lake Ratcliff. She said the convenience store has seen fewer customers, including workers with the US National Forest.
“Our regular forestry employees we haven’t seen any of them that normally shop here every day we don’t see them,” McCarty said.
The US Forest Service is among one of the agencies having to close recreation, campgrounds and other facilities during the government shutdown affecting many people.
“The customers to the business owners in the area to the forestry employees and their families. I mean it all happened right here at the holidays and so it’s just kind of affected everybody," McCarty said.
Conservationist Richard Donovan explains that the national forests are already underutilized.
“We don’t utilize our national forest as we should because simply today’s society just not familiar with the national forest and they don’t feel like embarking on just hiking trips on the national forests unless there’s trails marked out for them to enjoy,” Donovan said.
But with the government shutdown participation could be even lower he said.
“It’s a wonderful asset for our area and until we take full advantage of the opportunities that it presents, we’re missing a source of enjoyment and income for our citizens that we should not forsake,” Donovan said.
The conservationist hopes the government can resolve their issues soon so maintenance of forests can resume.