LITTLE ROCK — The federal government shutdown is starting to interfere with recreational boating and hunting in Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK — The federal government shutdown is starting to interfere with recreational boating and hunting in Arkansas.

The Little Rock District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Friday that it has temporarily suspended recreational lock closures at all Arkansas River locks.

John Balgavy, chief of operations for the Little Rock district, said all the locks along the river are open, but maintenance staff "will only be available if we have a critical repair need."

He said that all commercial and government vessels will be locked through at any time, but no boat being used for recreational purposes on the river will be allowed through the locks. Normally, recreational vessels are prohibited from using the locks from 1 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Also Friday, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said two of the eight hunters awarded permits for next week’s elk hunt have been told they can’t participate because their hunt was to be in elk zone 1, which is land completely within the Buffalo National River.

Land along the river is closed to all activities because of the federal government shutdown.

The elk hunt, scheduled for Monday through Friday of next week, is one of two scheduled this fall on public land. The other is Oct. 28-Nov. 1. A private land hunt will be held Oct. 28-Nov.1 T Twenty-eight people were issued permits to participate in the hunts.

Wes Wright, coordinator for the Game and Fish Commission’s Elk Program, said Friday the two hunters in elk zone 1 have been notified.

"If there is a resolution reached over the weekend they are on standby to go hunting next week," Wright said. "If not, these two hunters will be allowed to come back next year and hunt the same zone and dates."

The commission set up four elk zones set up for hunting. Elk zone 3 also has land within the BNR, but it also has the Richland Valley Sonny Varnell Elk Conservation Area, which is state-owned property.

More than 600 state employees who receive part or all of their salary from federal funds, were on furlough Friday.

Also Friday, the Arkansas National Guard issued a statement saying the government shutdown "continues to degrade readiness and morale" across the state, and that local communities were beginning to feel impact.

About 1,100 Guard employees were furloughed Tuesday because of the budget stalemate in Congress, the bulk of them, 738, were dual-status federal employees required to be a member of the Arkansas Army or Air National Guard to hold their full-time federal position.

Thursday, the National Guard postponed weekend drills scheduled in October affecting nearly 10,000 Guard personnel because of the federal government shutdown.

On Friday, the Guard said the furlough has cost its troops $839,560 in wages.

Postponing guard training will cost Army National Guard personnel $2.2 million, while Air National Guard personnel will lost about $783,000 in wages, the Guard said.