The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest on Tuesday abruptly closed three of its campgrounds that a concessionaire had kept open during the federal government shutdown.
Rogue Recreation Inc. received word of the closure late Tuesday morning and informed campers at Union Creek, Farewell Bend and Fish Lake campgrounds that they had 48 hours to evacuate, said Melody Goodboe, Rogue Recreation's vice president.
The camp hosts also were ordered out and will be gone early next week, Goodboe said. Those who paid for closed dates will get refunds, she said.
"They're going to close the gates so nobody else comes in," she says. "We all know why."
The closure came one week after most of the federal government began the shutdown.
Rogue Recreation had planned to keep those three campgrounds open through October.
Rogue Recreation previously was told it could remain open during the shutdown because they were run by a private contractor and not by federal employees, Goodboe said.
Rogue Recreation President Dick Goodboe said he was given no reason from the Forest Service why the company was allowed to operate during the first week of the shutdown and then got shuttered during the second week.
Dick Goodboe blamed the political stalemate for harming his business.
"I have no idea what the little babies in Washington, D.C., are doing, but they better grow up," he said Tuesday.
Forest Service officials were not available for comment on what prompted Tuesday's closure.
Other area concessionaires operating under contracts with federal agencies remained open Tuesday, including Howard Prairie Resort. The resort is run by Jackson County under an agreement with the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which has not changed the resort's operating status, county parks Manager Steve Lambert said Tuesday.
The closure comes four days before the start of the Cascade general bull-elk rifle season, which brings hundreds of hunters to the Union Creek area.
Melody Goodboe said a handful of campgrounds were in use Tuesday — mostly by deer hunters — when she informed visitors of the shutdown.
For more information, call Rogue Recreation at 541-560-3900.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.