Steigerwald remains closed to visitors

Federal funding ran out Sept. 30

The Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located off of Highway 14 just east of Washougal, remains closed to the public, due to the federal government shutdown that closed all national parks across the country. The government has been partially closed since Oct. 1, and the Oct. 17 debt ceiling deadline is right around the corner. If the US debt ceiling is not raised by Thursday, the Treasury would run out of money and could begin defaulting on its obligations. Today, there have been reports that Senate leaders are working on a deal that could re-open the government soon.

A local National Wildlife Refuge that is home to a trail popular with walkers and bird watchers has been much quieter than usual during the past two weeks.

The 1,049-acre Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge remains closed as a result of the federal government shutdown —now entering its 15th day.

The refuge, off of Highway 14 just east of Washougal, is home to the Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail. Other local national refuges managed by the Interior Department, including Ridgefield and Pierce, are also closed.

“Only limited functions will continue, such as those necessary to respond to emergencies and to protect human life or property,” said a press release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “While a lapse in appropriations remains in effect, public access to the refuges will be prohibited and Fish and Wildlife management activities and public programs will be cancelled.”

The refuges have been closed since Sept. 30, when federal government appropriations expired.

A birding tour scheduled for Sunday at Steigerwald was cancelled.

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