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Visitors discover state parks after Yellowstone closure

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: Oct 06 2013 05:27:23 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 06 2013 05:29:49 PM MDT
THREE FORKS, Mt. -

We are closing in on week one of the government shutdown. One of the biggest hits it's giving Montana is the closure of Yellowstone, Glacier and the rest of our national parks.
But with 54 state parks still open across the state we wanted to find out if visitors are re-routing to these areas.

At Missouri Headwaters state park, we spoke with John McCaine. He traveled more than 1,500 miles from Houston to see Yellowstone.  But after a year of planning, a government shutdown forced McCaine and his wife to switch gears.

"There is nothing we can do about it but grin and bear it," said McCaine.

Since the shutdown is not over yet, McCaine has been visiting state parks along the way.

"We are planning on doing the same thing here in Montana, checking out the state parks, and looking for birds and scenery," said McCaine.

At the state park we also spoke to David Andrus. He is the manager of the two state parks in Gallatin County. Since the shutdown Andrus has noticed a difference in the amount of traffic.

"We have seen a good five to six campers a night this past week when we would normally only see one to two a night," said Andrus.

Andrus has found that people from near and far are having to re-evaluate their vacations.

"I have also had a phone call from some tour companies that are trying to change their itineraries because they cant get into national parks so they are looking at possibly coming to state parks," said Andrus.

Just days ago Andrus found himself in a similar situation.

"On our way back we thought we would head on through Yellowstone and behold Monday morning we had to turn around at Cook City," said Andrus.

Travelers like John McCain are hoping for the best.

"We are not sure what exactly is going to happen, hopefully it will re-open and we can spend three to four days there and do some of what we had planned on doing," said McCaine.

Even if the government continues to remain on lockdown, McCain tells us they will be back to experience Yellowstone another time.

Here is a list of state parks in Montana.