WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Several federally funded parks in the Heartland were forced to close their doors Tuesday morning, leaving employees in the dark about when to show back up for work.
It also forced campers to end their trips early.
At every entrance to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge there are barricades keeping campers, fishermen and boaters from enjoying the park.
Staff say it's a scary feeling not knowing how long the shutdown will last.
"People are turning to me for leadership and I feel deeply for my fellow employees and those I supervise and make sure that we minimize the impact to them," said Kathleen Burchett, Wildlife Refuge manager.
It was an emotional start to a shortened day for the staff at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.
Staff showed up for work only to be sent home unsure of when they might see their next paycheck.
"It's indefinite so we are not really sure how long that will last," said Burchett.
Like Crab Orchard's staff, hundreds of thousands of federal employees are facing indefinite furloughs.
Only employees monitoring the park for emergencies will be on hand and paid at a later time.
"I just told my staff to hang in there, we will get through this," said Burchett.
The closure is not only kicking out staff, but campers are finding themselves at the mercy of the government too.
"We're just disappointed," said Donald Roberson, a camper from Fairview Heights.
Sixty campers and more than 100 boaters were notified that the park would be secured by the afternoon and no one would have access.
"You can't do anything about, so hopefully things will change," he said.
Roberson and his family are 'packing up shop' three days earlier then they had planned.
He says this is not the way he and his family wanted to end the camping season.
"I don't think that we are going to get back out this year," said Roberson.
"We don't know when we will be back; we don't know when we will be able to work again to help support our families," said Burchett
The park cancelled two weeks of presentations where more than 250 students were signed up to come out and attend.
Many of which can't be rescheduled due to the season.