Many unhappy campers were departing from Pine Point Campground at Lake Glendale Recreation Area in Pope County Wednesday.
The campground was shutting down along with the rest of the federal government.
Campers had to be gone by the end of the day.
"It's kind of sad when the federal government is forcing you out of your campsite," said Tim Grace of Paducah, Ky., while packing up his camp to leave.
"The politicians are to blame on this. You can figure out who by finding out who is answering the phone and who's not answering," he said.
Grace was obviously irritated at having to leave with Columbus Day Holiday approaching.
"It's a shame to have to leave. You won't find a nicer group of people than the ones here at Lake Glendale."
Bill Nolen has been managing the beach concession at Lake Glendale for 26 years and the campground for 13 years.
"We pay the government a percentage of our revenue in exchange for use of the land which belongs to the government. First of all, I have no problems with the local foresters. This has nothing to do with them. This comes down from Washington. I have zero problems with the Forest Service," he said.
"I like my job and I have been doing it a long time."
He also manages the Red Bud Campground at Bell Smith Springs in the Shawnee National Forest, about 10 miles north on state Route 145 which is also shuttered until the federal government shut down is ended.
"This is not a local thing," Nolen said.
"I have talked to Rep. (John) Shimkus (R-Harrisburg). The last shutdown, under Clinton, didn't affect the campgrounds. I can't even get Senator (Dick) Durbin (D-Illinois) on the phone. He doesn't answer. I haven't called (Senator Mark) Kirk yet (R-Illinois). But Molly, over in Shimkus' office has been real helpful. She returned my phone call," said Nolen.
Shan Knight, Covington, Tenn., was taking advantage of the Illinois deer archery season that opened Oct. 1.
"I was here to hunt for the whole week. I learned they were shutting down when I arrived Monday after three and half hours of driving," Knight said.
Knight said he spends a lot of money in Southern Illinois on his hunting trips. He doesn't place blame on any one party, but has a problem with Obamacare, touted as the chief reason for the shut down by Republicans.
"You can't put the blame for this on any one person for this. Obamacare is good for a certain percentage of the population, but the kids are getting screwed. Those who don't have insurance usually don't watch the news or stay informed. They don't try to better themselves. We will always have them with us and we should take care of them," Knight said.
Page 2 of 2 - October's weather and leaf color and the November hunting seasons are the considered the busiest tourist seasons for the Shawnee National Forest.
"This campground is the prettiest, nicest campground out here. It is usually crowded, packed, this time of year because the weather is perfect for camping and bow hunting. Between now and Thanksgiving is the best time of the year — prime camping," Knight said.
Jill and Paul Hansen of Kildeer, a northwest suburb of Chicago, had planned to spend the week at Pine Point and then drive to Nashville, Tenn., to spend the weekend with their daughter. Now they will be spending most of the week with her.
"We drove 350 miles to get here. This campground is fantastic," Jill said.
"I wish those politicians would check their egos at the door and get busy representing their constituents. I think it is about Obamacare and I agree we have to take care of some people. I am not well versed in insurance so I don't have an alternative to offer. But one thing I am sure of, our tax laws have to be changed."
Paul said, "We both like the flat tax."
"I am so sick of the greed," said Jill.