I got a call from the Cabinet Ranger District first thing October 1, the fire lookout tower I had rented for this weekend had been cancelled. Forest service employees are amongst the nearly 800,000 federal employees furloughed due to government shutdown. That means any fire lookout or cabin rentals are to be closed, and renters are out of luck until the United States government reopens and lifts the furlough. Staying in a fire lookout is something I look forward to every year. I was even able to snap some photos of this fire lookout from a recent airplane trip around western Montana. It is hard to believe that decisions made in Washington have trickled all the way down to a little fire lookout on the top of a mountain in Montana. I have definitely taken Forest Service employees for granted!
The national forests will still be open to use for the public. More details on how the Forest Service is being impacted by the furlough can be found in this Missoulian article here.
Photo: Alyson Booher