Government Shutdown Forces Philpott Lake to Close by Friday
Henry Co.,VA - We're keeping an eye on how the shutdown is affecting folks in our area. Folks at Philpott Lake in Henry County will be forced to shut down the park by Friday.
They tried to stay open as long as they could. They've been using some cash carried over from last year to keep the park open. But that money is gone, and soon campers will be too.
"It makes me feel sad, I love coming here," said Gabriella Preston, who visits the park regularly.
Visitors at Philpott Lake in Bassett were met with an unfortunate surprise at the park. The spot is closing, thanks to the government shutdown. It's not a national park, but it is federally funded and the property is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"All of our day use parks will be closed at 8 p.m. Thursday evening and that's October 10th," said Craig Rockwell, Philpott Lake Operations Manager. "The campers that are in the campgrounds have to be out of the park by noon the next day so that we can have an orderly shutdown of the park and be ready to be on furlough."
Rockwell said the phone has been ringing off the hook with people upset about the closing.
"We've done everything we can to try and keep this from impacting our visitors here at Philpott Lake," said Rockwell.
Since October 1st, they've been using leftover special projects funds from last year to keep the park running. But now, they're out of options.
Regular visitors to Philpott Lake can't help but be frustrated at the government, now that the shutdown has hit close to home.
"Our government can't get it together, they're supposed to be the law makers not the law breakers and here they are shutting down public facilities that are really needed, I mean this is needed," said Rachel Mingus, a regular visitor.
"I hope things change, I hope things get better," said Anne Stewart, another regular visitor.
People will get full refunds if they've made reservations at the campgrounds for days that the park will be closed.
All 13 employees at the park will be on furlough as of Saturday. There'll only be two employees working at the park to keep up with operations and maintenance until the shutdown is over.