SALT LAKE CITY -- Rafting outfitters were ordered to stay off Utah's major rivers Tuesday and foreign tourists were left confused as five national parks were closed during a busy time of year - the result of the federal government shutdown.
"We're dealing with a broken system, a broken Congress," said John Wood, president of Holiday River Expeditions, which was ordered by the U.S. National Park Service to stay off the Colorado and Green rivers. "They couldn't be doing more to run me out of business."
If the shutdown lasts two weeks, Holiday will lose $50,000, he said.
The shutdown also prompted furloughs of thousands of federal workers and civilian defense contractors in the state.
Many people had expected the move because of a congressional budget battle, but a number of visitors at Utah's red rock parks were caught unaware.
"A lot of people don't understand what's going on," said Alyssa Baltrus, a spokeswoman at Zion National Park.
Zion draws about 10,000 visitors a day during October. But on Tuesday, everyone was turned away, she said.
Officials also were trying to empty Zion's campgrounds. People who secured a designated site ahead of the shutdown were given 48 hours to leave.
Baltrus said officials had tried to warn campers for several days not to pay for camping beyond Oct. 1.
"But it's hard to let everybody know," she said.
Officials were turning back large recreational vehicles from Utah Route 9. The road that cuts through the park features a narrow tunnel that requires staffing to let larger vehicles pass one at a time. Nobody was available to guide traffic on Tuesday.
Baltrus said other motorists on Route 9 were being told "no stopping, no recreating."
The shutdown furloughed about 10,000 federal workers and civilian defense contractors in Utah, said Juliette Tennert, Gov. Gary Herbert's chief economist.
Utah's economy is doing fine but could suffer whiplash if the national economy takes a hit from a prolonged shutdown, she said.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which controls much of Utah's public land, stopped processing oil-and-gas drilling permits. The agency said it furloughed non-essential staffers and closed campgrounds, boat ramps, visitor centers and recreation sites.