COMMERCE CITY — At one point, the millions of dollars worth of repairs needed for the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge looked as though they wouldn’t keep the site closed for long.
Despite last month’s catastrophic flooding, Susan Drobniak with the Fish and Wildlife Service was optimistic the refuge would reopen this week.
But congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., altered that reality when the Sept. 30 deadline for passing a budget passed, forcing the partial shutdown of the federal government and the refuge along with it.
So when it came time for refuge workers to show up for work Tuesday, Oct. 1, it was for a brief walkthrough of the procedures to be followed as part of the shutdown rather than continuing to assess and repair the damages caused during last month’s flooding.
Prior to the shutdown, Drobniak had shared plans for a six-week period of extensive construction work to repair roads and trails that were damaged in the flooding.
In addition to the paid staff at the refuge, a number of volunteers have been ordered to stay home as part of the closure of the refuge.
Since the federal government’s closure, a fishing program for the Greeley Center for Independence has been cancelled, as well as the planned Oct. 8 and 9 visit from Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. The refuge was set to play host to Pacelle and a ceremony to crush a six-ton ivory stockpile.