Popular Camp Grounds Feel Shutdown Sting

By: David Norris Email
By: David Norris Email

SOMERVILLE, Texas As the government shutdown drags on, recreational grounds are also taking a hit.

Yegua Park and Rocky Creek Park, both near Lake Somerville, fall under federal jurisdiction and were both shut down.

Emmitt Attaway is the Lake Manager. He still has a job, but many of his employees weren't so lucky. Emmitt said the toughest part is not knowing what will happen next.

"The unknown is what affects us," Attaway said. "If we don't know what they're doing, or how long it's going to be, that's what affects us."

Bob and Marie Vanvolkenburg are gate keepers at Yegua Park, and still have their job. The couple is stationed at the gate 16 hours a day, four days a week. Their main responsibility now is to tell people who make the drive out to the park that it's closed. Marie said they spend most of their days reading books, playing video games and talking about the weather.

The lake and surrounding state and city parks remain open, but Emmitt said to be extra careful if you plan to visit. Park rangers have also been furloughed, and water safety has been left to the County. It's a job they're comfortable with, but Emmitt said with the rangers gone, they'll be working extra hard.

"Boaters especially should take caution, because the lake is currently about six foot low," Emmitt said. "They need to make sure of the area they're in. They need to wear their life jackets. And if their children are in the water, they need to check the area that their children are in."

Emmitt said anyone with a paid reservation to either of the closed parks will be offered a full refund.

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