15 Sep 2014
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Shutdown Would Close Teddy Roosevelt's House

National Park Service facilities, championed by the 26th president, would be the first to be hit by the federal shutdown.

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The home of Oyster Bay's most famous resident, , would be closed if the shutdown of federal services takes place Friday.

Tours of the "Summer White House," where Roosevelt spent much of his time away from Washington while he was the 26th U.S. president, would be discontinued beginning Friday if the federal shutdown takes place, a spokesman for the said Thursday.

Barbara Baxter, a spokeswoman for the National Parks Service, said Sagamore Hill and all 394 national parks in the federal system would be closed to the public if the federal government's shutdown takes place.

"We continue to remain hopeful that the shutdown will be avoided," Baxter said Thursday afternoon.

Essential services, including U.S. military forces, the Postal Service, and federal law enforcement agencies, would not be affected directly by the shutdown, federal officials say.

Sagamore Hill and other national parks on Long Island would be affected. They include The Gateway National Recreation Area on Jamaica Bay in Rockaway and the Fire Island National Seashore on the Atlantic Ocean off Suffolk County.

The National Parks Service offers tours of the Roosevelt's 80-acre grounds and mansion on Cove Neck. Tours are conducted five days per week, Wednesdays through Sundays, hourly from 10. a.m. to 4 p.m. The the Roosevelt mansion has between 80,000 and 100,000 visitors a year, federal officials said.

The colorful and progressive Roosevelt, a lifelong conservationist who championed the National Parks System, occupied the home from 1885 until his death there in 1919.

Roosevelt served as U.S. president from September, 1901 until March, 1909, when the 23-room, Queen Anne-style mansion served as the Summer White House. He and his second wife, Edith, raised six children in the home.

The government shutdown would also furlough eight federal employees at Long Island’s 10 National Wildlife Refuges, said Michelle Williams, refuge manager for the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. 

The closed wildlife preservation areas include the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge that surrounds Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill property, located on a secluded neck that defines Oyster Bay to the west and opens on Long Island Sound. Roosevelt is considered the father of the national wildlife refuge system.

The shutdown would also close the Wertheim refuge in Shirley and the refuge in Lloyd Harbor, she said. 

Wertheim alone has 95,000 visitors annually, Williams said. Other visitation figures weren't available.

Wildlife at the various refuges would not be affected by the shutdown, Williams said. The Oyster Bay refuge is the home to Long Island's last commercial oyster farm and a wide variety of water fowl.

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