Park Workers Continue Without Pay

Lauderdale County, Miss. The recent government shutdown has certainly had an impact on things here at home, especially at one popular park.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Parks have been closed and that includes Okatibbee. Right now, the Corps of Engineers is continuing on a staff of four people until the government shutdown has been resolved, all working without pay.

"As far as knowing whether or not when this is all resolved if we will be reimbursed for our time, we don't know that," according to Mark Dean, Operations Project Manager. "But as public service, we expect that challenge, and we just do to the best of our abilities to take care of the responsibilities that we have here."

In the meantime, those four workers are just trying to maintain Okatibbee as best they can without any funding for maintenance and operational upkeep.

"Right now, what we're doing is just corresponding with our district office, trying to find out what is going on and trying to keep the public abreast," Dean explains. "We're getting a lot of phone calls, people out in the various areas wanting to know can they access here, where can they access from."

But there is good news for boaters and fishermen. The Corps of Engineers has announced that since it is foreseeing this shutdown continuing for an extended period of time, workers want to ease the burden on the recreating public. The Gin Creek and Pine Spring boat launches only are open.

However, the public is asked to be considerate of the area or all access will have to be closed again.