Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge is running smoothly after the shutdown


Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

MARION, Ill. - The government is back open and so is one of Southern Illinois' most popular destinations: Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge employees were ready to put their uniforms back on and welcome visitors to the campsites, trails and lakes.

It has been 16 days since Kim King-Wrenn has fielded phone calls at the visitors center desk.

King-Wrenn says putting her uniform back on and taking the scenic route into work was just what she needed after more than two weeks of unpaid...and unwanted vacation.

"Coming in and opening up this morning, putting the flag back up, changing the sign to say open instead of closed," said King-Wrenn.

She and her employees did not miss a beat after 16 days.

They are welcoming the rush of anxious refuge visitors.

"There were people in the parking lot about quarter till...just couldn't wait to get in and we were happy to see them back at the refuge," said King-Wrenn.

Among them, Nicholas Kainz.

He and his buddies were happy to not have to call of the annual trip to the peninsula for what he swears is the best month to visit Crab Orchard.

"Camp, bike, hike and a little bit of fishing," said Kainz.

This weekend is the Refuge's annual turkey hunt.

The shutdown threatened to cancel this tradition, but it is still on.

If you are participating in the hunt you have Friday to scout the land.