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Apgar Village businesses open as park remains closed

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Oct 13 2013 06:35:50 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

In the Flathead, Governor Steve Bullock has stated that Montana will not be picking up the tab to re-open Glacier National Park, something other states across the country like Utah, Arizona, Colorado and South Dakota are considering doing.

The shutdown has already begun affecting local businesses outside of the park, but inside, even with the park closed, there are some who are financially hurting.

It's been almost two weeks since the federal government shutdown began, which has caused national parks across America, like Glacier, to close its doors to visitors.

While some parts of Glacier National Park are closed seasonally, others are open all year, like Apgar Village near Lake McDonald.

Many businesses are closed this time of year, but a few stay open, like the Montana House, who stays open year round.  They say the shutdown has already affected them causing them to see lower sales, fewer people coming in, and even having to lay off a seasonal employee a little bit early.

"Normally Apgar this time of year would be parked full,” said Monica Jungster, the owner of Montana House inc.

While the park may be shutdown, her business is on privately owned land, meaning park rangers can't stop people from going to the store.

"You have the right for this which is a private businesses and Eddie’s, which is also a private business that the visitor customer may come directly to and from these places."

Not many people are aware of this, as Jungster says it's been much slower than if the park were to be open.

What Jungster says is more concerning to her is the local artists. They make the gifts in her store and Jungster says they are going to suffer, because if she can't sell as much product, she can't order as much for the store.

"Next spring when it's time to re-order, some of the many people I purchase from will be feeling the pinch when they won't be getting the size of orders that they usually get."

But Jungster realizes the shutdown is out of her hands.

She hopes a resolution comes soon, so that she, like many others affected by the shutdown, can carry on.

"Powerless,” she says.  “I can't change anything.  Park services, federal government, they can't change anything.  Like I talked to the ranger at the entrance when we came through this morning, there's nothing either of us can do so we're gonna make the best of it."

Jungster says she doesn't anticipate closing her shop anytime soon, even with no resolution to the government shutdown in sight.