GREAT FALLS – Right now, people interested in visiting the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center will only be greeted by a locked gate as the government shutdown continues.
Employees of the Lewis and Clark Foundation, the non-profit that helps operate the center, are able to access the building and work in their offices, but they cannot open the store or allow any member of the public in the building.
Jay Russell, executive director of the foundation, said the closure impacts four foundation employees and four and a half Forest Service employees.
He said a shutdown is always frustrating, but it came at a time of slow visitation.
“In the winter, we don’t have as many visitors as we do in the summertime, but during the holiday season we do get a little bit of a bump in traffic from people coming here on the holidays and wanting to show the interpretive center to their friends and family, unfortunately those folks won’t be able to go to the center,” explained Russell.
This is the third time in recent years that a federal shutdown has closed the center.
Russell said depending on the length of the shutdown, some scheduled events may be impacted.
Reporting by Joe Huisinga for MTN News