Facilities closed until further notice

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Temporary barriers bar visitors from entering the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge tour loops, visitor center and trail heads. A closed sign is taped to the door of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management field office in Socorro.

Karen Bailey-Bowman/El Defensor Chieftain: The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge tour loops, the visitor center and all refuge trail head parking lots are closed to the public Oct. 1 because of the federal government shutdown.

“We’re closed for business,” said BLM Socorro Field Office manager Danita Burns as she took a break outside the back door of the building Tuesday morning.

According to a local source, federal employees were told to report to their offices Tuesday morning and drop off government cellphones and laptops. They were cautioned not to take any temporary jobs during the furlough because of possible conflict of interest problems.

Furloughs mean hardship and inconvenience for everyone.

“We don’t get paid,” Burns said. In the past, employees were paid back pay, but Burns is not sure that will be the case this time.

Most, but not all, local federal employees will be furloughed.

A BLM ranger will be kept on the payroll to watch over the Socorro field office and public lands in Socorro and Catron counties, she said.

“I have an accepted ranger who will take care of the BLM’s 1.5 million acres,” she said. Local law enforcement will help monitor BLM land for illegal activities during the government shutdown.