Parts of Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge closed

COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (RNN Texoma) - What could have been a perfect day out at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, turned sour for many on Saturday. The Refuge Visitor's Center was closed. and the gates to drive up Mount Scott were locked.

"It's disappointing," said Melina Maloukis, visitor. "It's very disappointing."

Melina Maloukis was one of many that pulled up to the refuge only to find the gates of the visitor's center closed. She made plans to show her photography to a director to potentially be showcased at the center.

"We were both expecting that she would be here and that I would be able to get these pictures today, but the visitor center is closed apparently," said Maloukis.

She said she spent over 20 hours this week preparing a portfolio of her favorite landscape photography.

"I have a lot of photos from this area," said Maloukis. "I really enjoy taking pictures of this area."

Unfortunately, she didn't get that chance. And just like Melina, others were equally frustrated. Numerous cars pulled up to the visitor's center and turning around once noticing it was closed. Some areas were open, while others, like Mount Scott, forced people to park their cars at the bottom of the mountain and walk the entire way up.

Melina said she looks forward to showing her work soon and enjoy the scenery again as she normally would.

"It was important," said Maloukis. "I was really looking forward it. Yea for me it was something I was looking forward to for a while."

Friends of the Wichitas posted to their Facebook page on Friday to tell the visitors to use caution during the government shutdown. Friends of the Wichitas volunteers will not be at the refuge to help guide visitors.

We will keep you updated on the refuge during the government shutdown.

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