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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • SNF recreation sites, some campgrounds gated and locked

  • Recreation areas and campgrounds on the Shawnee National Forest are closed due to the shutdown of the federal government.
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  • Recreation areas and campgrounds on the Shawnee National Forest are closed due to the shutdown of the federal government.
    The Shawnee National Forest recreation areas of Garden of the Gods, Pounds Hollow, Rim Rock and the Hunting Branch picnic area at Bell Smith Springs are gated and locked and — though there has been no information provided by the U.S. Forest Service since the Monday night shutdown — we assume all recreation sites forest wide are also closed.
    A message duct-taped to the gate at Pounds Hollow reads, "This U.S. Department of Agriculture recreation facility is closed, due to the lapse in federal government funding. This area will reopen once Congress restores funding."
    Red Bud Campground at Bell Smith Springs is now operated by a private concessionaire and remains open. The campground at Lake Glendale is also privately operated.
    The main parking lot for Bell Smith Springs remains open and primitive camping opportunities remain available in wilderness areas and other forest areas where there are no gates.
    The Shawnee National Forest headquarters and ranger stations are also closed.
    The latest news release from the Shawnee National Forest encourages people to enjoy the October color in the forest and to use the U.S. Forest Service's Fall Color Web site at http://www.fs.fed.us/fallcolors/2013
    The new website features an online map to help visitors see if trees are peaking in their state. The map will be shaded in green (not peaking) to bright red (peaking) to brown (past peak). We presume the Web site will continue to show Illinois in the color green until after the government restores funding.
    All calls to the Shawnee National Forest have been directed to the U.S. Forest Service office in Washington, D.C. and no one has returned any of those calls.
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