If you want to visit your favorite national park facility, don’t bother, it isn’t open. But those who would like to visit them aren’t the only ones missing out because of the government shut down.
Although it’s located inside the Carver National Monument, the gift shop, which we can’t show you because the building is locked up, is owned and operated by a group called the Carver Birthplace Association.
“We have an employee that operates and manages the gift shop, and it’s not fair for that employee to not be paid because of something beyond that employee’s control, so our board made the decision to continue to pay this individual though we’re receiving no income so we’re really kind getting a double whammy, we’re not getting income but we continue to have outgo that will not be reimbursed by the federal government when the shutdown is over,” says Kim Mailes, Chairman, Carver Birthplace Association.
Some of this facility’s single largest annual events like Carver Days and Prairie Days can’t take place without the financial support of the Carver Birthplace Association, which right now, doesn’t have any money coming in.
“If this goes on for another few weeks we’re going to get into the season where we have hundreds and hundreds, thousands in fact of school groups from all around the region who arrive to tour the monument, find out about Dr. Carver and history and we will not be there to service them and we will not be able to sell our product and we will not have the revenue then to support the park,” says Mailes.
But as bad as the situation is for the organization, he says it could always be worse.
“To us it’s an inconvenience, a financial consideration but I feel bad for the employees who are dear friends of ours who we work with on a day to day basis because they’re doing without paychecks and they still have to pay rent, house payments, car payments and that money’s not there,” says Mailes.