BlackBerry photo by John Lee

The federal government shutdown takes its toll on a local event.  The ninth annual Red River National Wildlife Refuge open house and celebration that was planned for Saturday the 19th has been cancelled.  

The Friends of the Refuge say the continuing shutdown and resulting closure of all access to the refuge and its visitors center -- as well as the whole staff being furloughed there for the past ten days -- has caused numerous logistical problems in the final stages of festival planning.

Friends President Lynn Stewart says the annual open house and festival doesn't just happen overnight.  It involves over 100 volunteers, some 25 booths and activities, multi-passenger tour carts, food vendors, and a whole lot more.  She says the group felt it necessary to cancel in time to notify the public, contact advance teams, and cancel contractual agreements.