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Yellowstone Closed to Foreign Travelers

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People who traveled from around the world to see Yellowstone are finding the gates closed and locked. Nearby businesses are hurting. Some have closed. Even the Park County Wyoming government may feel the pinch.

Even though the park has been closed for a week, the cars still come and go. A visitor from Belgium, Clark Owmneganck, was standing at the closed East Entrance when he said, "And we planned an extra three days to see Yellowstone National Park. But now we're standing here and they shut it down so it's unbelievable."

Owmneganck said he's visited Yellowstone once before. He wanted to bring his friend who had never seen it. His friend was looking at the closed gate as well, when Owmneganck said, " It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen, the Park."

A lot of people come to Yellowstone in October to see the colors and wildlife, which are quite active this time of year. It's not just Yellowstone visitors and employees affected by the government shutdown. Nearby lodges, also shutdown. And, since the Shoshone Forest adjacent to the Park is also a federal agency, it's campgrounds are shutdown.

Cody Chamber Executive Director Scott Balyo said the people who come to his visitor center are disappointed.

He explained, "We've heard from people who are literally from dozens of countries, people from throughout the U.S. who have traveled this far and are frustrated and in some cases irritated that they can't get into Yellowstone. "

Balyo said business leaders are losing money , and, " I think all of our members are looking at their staffing levels, the projected amount of revenue they're going to have for October and part of November. "

Park County Wyoming covers a big part of Yellowstone. Sales and lodging tax revenues come from as far away as the park's headquarters in Mammoth. While the county treasurer won't get a tax report from the state until next month, she says last year's October income was nearly $800,000.

Visitors we spoke to and the Chamber director had the same message for Congress: "Get the government funded."