Corps dodging furloughs, Lake Thurmond park closures, for now

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Without any funds from the government many local agencies are being forced to furlough their employees and limit their services.

But the Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Thurmond found a way to dodge the bullet, for now.

Right as the Corps was preparing to furlough 32 employees and close several parks, they got a check for $300,000 from their logging operation.

"At the moment we're still able to be open because of the money that we got from that check. We figure it will take us anywhere from two to three weeks," said Corps Operations Project Manager Scott Hyatt.

He says the Corps contracts with logging companies to harvest timber on nearly 80,000 acres of land around Lake Thurmond.

He says when the government shut down and they needed the cash he wasn't counting on timber sales.

"It started raining in May and the woods got wet. I didn't get a check from May, June, July or August, which actually killed our operation from the summer," he said.

Hyatt says when things dried off recently they were able to start logging again and just got the money to prove it.

"If it wasn't for the extremely wet summer and the check that came in at the right time, where do you think you'd be right now?" asked Fox54's Mark Barber.

"We'd be in furlough status; we'd have the Visitor Center here closed. We'd probably have several recreation areas closed," Hyatt, said.

Hyatt says many of their employees who could be furloughed are married to Fort Gordon employees; so both family members could be furloughed if the government shutdown lasts a few more weeks.

Hyatt says if they received the logging check any earlier they would've spent some of the money on other programs. So they wouldn't have had the money they needed to keep operating when the government shut down.