January 22, 2019
Day 32. Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge has now lost 2,700 hours of work by federal staff (and countless volunteer hours as volunteers are not authorized to work). The refuge is understaffed to begin with - only 11 full time personnel manage this place, and only two maintenance workers! They need every hour of work they can get.
Flags and symbols are flown or displayed upside down to show distress and and instances of danger to life and property. It's time for Congress and the President to pass appropriations bills, open the Refuge System, and allow people back to work. Make the refuge symbol in distress your profile picture to show your solidarity with the National Wildlife Refuge System.
January 12, 2019
How are we feeling?
-Four essential refuge staff have been forced to work without pay.
-The remaining seven refuge staff members are furloughed, watching news updates, concerned about their personal finances in addition to the things they wish they were working on for the refuge complex.
-Visitors are entering the refuge at their own risk.
-The Visitor Center and restrooms are closed. The Christmas decorations are still up... It's like time stopped on December 22.
-The people who work for free and give their time and talents to support this place, our VOLUNTEERS, are not authorized to work.
-Because it is in the federal building, the Rookery Nature Store is closed, resulting in the loss of about $3,500 so far that would have gone to support refuge programs.
-There are no interns to assist with programs and projects, in fact, all wildlife tours and kids programs are canceled.
-Essential planning that occurs in January for spring birding programs and events is halted.
-The possibility of having to cancel our members programs and Chili Cook-off this month are becoming more and more likely.
38 "priority" refuges have been reopened, and those fine folks are being paid. All that our dedicated employees want to do is get back to work and do the jobs they love to support our refuge complex.
We are frustrated. We are disgusted. But we cannot allow our level of support this year to be diminished by the shutdown closures. This year is off to a rocky start, and we need your help now more than ever. Now is the time to act.
-----> Renew your membership or join now.
January 5, 2019
Day 15 of the federal shutdown is here, and so are some updates for all of you...
-------> What do I need to know about visiting Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge during the federal shutdown?
The trails are open sunrise to sunset.
The Visitor Center is closed.
The Rookery Nature Store is closed.
The Wildlife Drive is closed.
All refuge staff or refuge volunteer-manned programs and activities are cancelled.
All non-essential refuge staff are furloughed until further notice.
Visit the Department of Interior website to learn more about contingency plans for national wildlife refuges, parks, and more.
--------> What do I do if I need assistance?
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Law Enforcement staff are working, but as always if you have an emergency while on refuge grounds, call 9-1-1 or the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office non-emergency number at 419-734-6827.
--------> How can I help Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge?
Please join Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and others across the country in encouraging our senators to pass the Department of Interior Appropriations and end the furlough of our US Fish and Wildlife Service employees.
December 22, 2018
Here are some answers that we can give right now on how the federal shutdown will affect Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and our 501(c)3 nonprofit.
-------> What does the shutdown mean for Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge?
Saturday, December 22 and Sunday, December 23, we are OPEN as usual. How's that? Because our Visitor Center is manned 7 days a week by (AMAZING) refuge staff, and staff will not be officially furloughed until Wednesday with the holiday.
So yes, the WILDLIFE DRIVE is open as scheduled, today and tomorrow from sunrise to sunset. The Visitor Center and Rookery Nature Store are open 9AM - 4PM Saturday (December 22) and Sunday (December 23). That means two more days to explore the refuge and do your last minute Christmas shopping!!
With the holiday, our Visitor Center is set to reopen on Thursday, December 27. Keep an eye on the news the next couple of days to stay updated on the status of the shutdown and find out when we can resume our regular activities then.
------> What does the shutdown mean for Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge?
Well, our days of operation are based on the refuge. When the Visitor Center is open, so is our store. When the refuge staff are told they cannot work due to a federal shutdown, we are displaced from our building and unable to maintain one of our largest sources of income - our Nature Store. If you want to continue to help us help the refuge through this difficult time, please join or renew your membership TODAY!
Shutdown news from across the country...
A woman walks past trash piled next to a garbage bin at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019. Nonprofits, businesses and state governments across the country are paying bills and putting in volunteer hours in an uphill battle to keep national parks safe and clean for visitors as the partial U.S. government shutdown lingers. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) (Jeff Chiu)
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. – This federal government shutdown stinks.
Not just in a "my vacation is ruined" way for people who hoped to visit Rocky Mountain National Park but found the roads unplowed and closed to cars, although that's certainly true.
Not just in a "I'm not getting paid" kind of way, even though that's definitely the case for the park's hundreds of rangers, maintenance workers, biologists and other employees.
And not just in a "my tourist-dependent business is suffering" kind of way, although that's also starting to happen.
No, this shutdown stinks for a much more basic reason: While the park's toilets are closed and locked because there's no one to clean them, piles of toilet paper and yellow snow are accumulating behind the buildings. Read more...