HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Glacier and Yellowstone national parks' gates are closed. Montana's national forests are open, but it may be hard to find a U.S. Forest Service ranger. Civilians with the Montana National Guard and at Malmstrom Air Force Base face furloughs.
The effects of the U.S. government shutdown were beginning to be felt in Montana on Tuesday as federal offices closed. Most of the state's more than 12,000 federal employees were sent home while those determined essential stayed but were unsure when their next paycheck would come.
Emergency personnel such as law-enforcement officers are still on the job. Federal courts are holding hearings, the airports are still operating, the mail is being delivered and the Indian Health Service is still providing health care on Indian reservations.
But other services have been temporarily closed, from the Farm Service Agency's 49 Montana offices to the U.S. Census Bureau's population data on its website.
Archery hunters on the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge will be asked to leave by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officials, refuge manager Rick Potts said.
"We have been placed in an untenable position where we must ask the owners of this refuge to respect that order and leave," Potts told The Billings Gazette.
Glacier and Yellowstone national parks are closed to visitors. Those already there will have to leave by Thursday, the National Park Service said.
National forests aren't closed to visitors, but most Forest Service employees have been furloughed, cabin rentals have been suspended and contract work on logging and thinning projects were being decided on a case-by case basis, the Missoulian reported.
At Malmstom Air Force Base, a majority of the 588 civilian employees were being furloughed, Capt. Chase McFarland told the Great Falls Tribune.
Nearly 600 Montana National Guard soldiers and airmen were sent home Tuesday, Gov. Steve Bullock said in a statement.
"All (state) employees are on the job today, and all Montanans should be demanding that Congress gets its act together before we have to even consider furloughing state employees who are paid partially or fully with federal dollars," Bullock said.
State budget director Dan Villa sent a memo to all agency heads telling them not to sign, extend or renew any contracts or grants that include federal money.