Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, October 1 2013 at 4:05 PM, Updated: Tue, October 1 2013 at 4:18 PM
The federal shutdown is resulting in a closure of 59 national parks...including Crater Lake National Park.
Brad Cummings is celebrating his retirement with his partner at Crater Lake Lodge...but he's got to be out by 11:00 A.M. Wednesday...
"Of course, disappointment if we were planning on spending more time up here. But you know, they can't run their business without the park - so, we'll go home quietly."
"They must all be gone by October 3rd at 6:00 P.M." Adds Crater Lake Director of Interpretation Marsha McCabe. "If the shutdown continues that long."
McCabe notes the majority of the park's 78 federal workers are being placed on furlough...
"It's probably affecting about 68 employees for the National Park Service, an additional number for Xanterra, who's the park concession here."
Xanterra employs about 185 people at Crater Lake this time of year.
Visitor services were also shut down at Park Headquarters, which came as a surprise to Tom Meyers of Seattle...
"Very surprised - like, wow - I didn't know they could just shut down a park. I camped here last night, and did some hikes yesterday. I was going to do some more hikes today."
A skeleton crew of ten 'excepted' workers will remain on hand for security, maintenance, and plowing.
Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman isn't one of those workers...
"Superintendent is not an excepted employee, so superintendent will be furloughed after four hours of shutdown procedures today."
Xanterra won't say how many people are currently staying at the lodge...but the 71 rooms are normally booked year round.
Superintendent Ackerman says Park Service workers were notified last week on the potential of a possible shutdown.
Those workers were given official written notice of their furloughs today.
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.