News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

October 4, 2013

Shutdown cancels opening of SW Indiana wildlife area

OAKLAND CITY, Ind. (AP) — The partial federal government shutdown has postponed the public opening of a 1,000-acre southwestern Indiana nature preserve that’s home to river otters, bobcats and rare bird species.

The Columbia Mine Preserve had been scheduled to open to the public Saturday for hiking, bird-watching, and photography.

But Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge manager Bill McCoy tells the Princeton Daily Clarion the public opening of the preserve about 25 miles northeast of Evansville has been postponed until after the shutdown ends.

The Patoka wildlife refuge shares management responsibility of the adjoining Columbia Mine Preserve with the Sycamore Land Trust. All federal parks and wildlife areas have been temporarily shuttered by the shutdown.

McCoy says about 80 percent of U.S. Fish and Wildlife workers have been furloughed.

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