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Government shutdown closes Glacier National Park

Published On: Oct 01 2013 05:59:04 PM MDT   Updated On: Oct 01 2013 06:49:45 PM MDT

Glacier National Park's West Entrance is usually the busiest gate. But on Tuesday, many visitors were turned away by signs and barricades that blocked them from entering the park.

Peter Wagner was one of those visitors - "I was really hoping to drive the Sun Road. So just really bummed out," said Wagner.

He's out of luck, and so is anyone else who wants to tour the Crown of the Continent.

"As soon as we drove through the gate a parks personnel ran up to us, a lady. And she said, 'The park's closed because of government shutdown. I don't have my job anymore,'" explained Mike from British Columbia.

Wagner felt a drive through Glacier would have been the highlight of his cross-country road trip from Wisconsin. But posted signs said it all: "Because of the federal government shutdown, this National Park Facility is closed."

"I debated. If I had been here last night I probably could have gone through," Wagner said.

Park officials tell NBC Montana privately owned shops, like ones in Apgar Village, remain open. Store managers who spoke off camera tell us they're worried closing the gates will hurt their sales.

"We don't understand the system. Surprising things could shut down so easily with a little bit of argument in government," said Mike.

"I really didn't believe that this would happen. Really couldn't believe that Washington would do this," Wagner continued.

As Washington searches for a solution, shop managers as well as the visitors who were turned away hope Glacier will move the barricades into storage very soon.