Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Government shutdown puts a lock on the outdoors

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ST. FRANCISVILLE - Folks looking to tackle the outdoors in Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge can't due to the government shutdown.

Cat Island is located near the town of St. Francisville, which is just 30 miles north of Baton Rouge. It's run by the U.S. Department of the Interior, so it's closed until the government shutdown ends.

A few weeks ago Mark Smith and his son were fishing in the refuge. Now they're locked out, five days into hunting season.

"It infuriates me that they would take something that belongs to the people anyway and restrict access to it," he said. "It was a pretty good blow to find out that they were closing this, cause last year I hunted specifically on this with my son. We didn't really hunt any other wildlife managements areas, because this one's so close."

Mark and his son live ten minutes away from the refuge. They hunt, fish and hike Cat Island - sometimes just taking in what nature has to offer.

"I look forward to this before school, after school in the summer I look forward to fishing here, crawfishing, hunting... it's basically how I grew up, and I love it," said 13-year-old Harvey Smith. "I hope they open it before hunting season is over with, cause I really do really want to hunt here. But if they don't open it up I'm gonna be really sad."

But for the meantime they have to go somewhere else until the two parties in Washington come to an agreement.

"It makes me really disgusted with our federal government, and it's really disgusting to me that we have these two political parties that are more worried about their political identity and more worried about which party is going to be in control instead of getting together and doing what's best for the people of this country," said Mark Smith.

Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge offers 9,623 acres and was established in 2000.



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