Disappointed tourists turned away from closed national park

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - Sandy Jones and Darlene Jebb looked forward to a day of outdoor fun, only to find closure signs.

"We packed a picnic lunch, we have our hiking stuff. We're pretty disappointed," Jebb said.

Same with Kyle Ferguson and Amy Nesbitt, turned away at the entrance to Joshua Tree National Park.

"We're going to have to reroute probably an extra 100 miles," Nesbitt said. 

Like the government, the park is shutdown.

"We made this big day outing to do some traveling and see the sights. We were quite disappointed when we got here," Jebb said. 

The park closed at 8:00 Tuesday morning and it was not an easy task.

"It can be complicated but there's a systematic way of doing that. First we shut the gates for the incoming into the park," Lorna Shuman from the Joshua Tree National Park said.

Then crews went around to about 100 campsites, telling the hundreds of campers they need to leave.

"People had Keys Ranch reservations. This was going to be the opening of our Keys Ranch tours, so those all were called that they would be cancelled if the government remains closed," Shuman said. 

We recently asked people how they thought the government shutdown would affect them. Many told us it wouldn't, but it did.  

"We're everyday people who travel and get to know your area and country and this is what happened. So it affects everyday living," Jebb said. 

Visitors aren't the only ones the shutdown affects. Ninety-two federal employees of Joshua Tree National Park are currently furloughed. Plus people who work at the gift shops are also on no-pay status. The park gets about 7,000 visitors a day in October and will lose an estimated $7,600 in entrance fees each day it's closed. 

"We'll head back to the desert and we'll probably do some shopping," Jones said. 

Fun, but not how they wanted to spend their day. 

If people try to enter the park while it's closed, you could get a fine or get arrested.

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