The 7,600-acre Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Morris and Somerset counties closed to the public Tuesday as part of a federal government shutdown, but a portion of the swamp not managed by the federal government remains open.
Acres of the Great Swamp for which the Morris County Park Commission is responsible, including the Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center on Southern Boulevard in Chatham, are not affected.
Morris County is responsible for about 44 acres of the refuge. The county's Great Swamp Outdoor Education Center, 247 Southern Blvd., is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Trails are open sunrise to sunset.
The Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, however, closed entirely Tuesday and all programs and events are canceled, Friends of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge announced on its website:
"Due to the government shutdown, the entire Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public. All programs and events are cancelled. The Visitor Center and the Wildlife Observation Center are closed. Essential refuge personnel only are permitted on the Refuge."
The refuge consists of varied habitats with 244 species of birds and other animal and plant species.
In other parts of Morris County, Morristown National Historic Park, including Jockey Hollow, Fort Nonsense, the Ford Mansion and the Washington’s Headquarters Museum, closed, and more than half the federal workforce at Picatinny Arsenal in Rockaway Township is furloughed because of the shutdown.