EMPIRE, Mich. -- After a tiring journey from Los Angeles to Detroit for a wedding, David Zorn and Jennifer Li were looking forward to a few days of camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Northern Michigan. Instead, their visit was cut short Tuesday as the park closed because of the partial government shutdown.
"It's a bummer," Zorn said as he and Li ate a hurried breakfast of scrambled eggs and baked beans, heated over the dying embers of their campfire. "It's something we were not closely following, but we didn't think it would actually affect us. It's one of those things that doesn't hit home until you're booted out."
Congress over federal spending and the health care law rippled across Michigan. Government workers were furloughed, national parks, forests and wildlife refuges were shut down and National Guard installations were left with skeleton crews.
In Grand Rapids, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum closed, and staffers scrambled to provide access to an exhibition that's part of the international ArtPrize competition. Works by two artists on display in the main lobby were moved to an outdoor tent.
The federal closures have had effects on smaller parks that are open as well.
Emmet County, which has a few thousand acres in park property, took to its webpage to declare it was still open -- after being inundated with calls about whether its campers would also have to change plans.
According to the website, "Due to numerous public inquiries, Emmet County would like to let our residents and visitors know that the federal government shutdown does not involve county government. Emmet County parks, such as the International Dark Sky Park at the Headlands, McGulpin Point Lighthouse and Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga, are not affected by the government shutdown."
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder said the state budget would take a big hit from Congress' failure to agree on a spending plan by the end of the fiscal year. The federal government provides more than 40 percent of Michigan's budget, or about $20 billion, covering services such as Medicaid and food aid for the needy.
"If the federal government is shut down for just a day or two, the effects on Michigan's residents will be minimal," Snyder said. "A longer-term shutdown, though, could have consequences."
He said the partial shutdown was "yet another reminder of a fact we know too well: There's something wrong with our national political culture today."
The state will lose $18 million each day the shutdown continues, budget director John Nixon said.
"It's a disruption to our families. It's a disruption to our economy," Nixon said. "This is just ridiculous."
The state sent furlough notices to unions representing tens of thousands of state workers who administer federal programs such as unemployment, welfare and food stamps in case the stalemate drags on, but officials said it wasn't clear how many might be in jeopardy.
About 900 Michigan National Guard military technicians could be out of work. Cancellation of training and assignments at Camp Grayling in Otsego County, Fort Custer near Battle Creek and other installations could affect 12,000 Guard members.
"We can and will continue to support key military operations that are necessary for the safety and welfare of our citizens," said Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
Among those immediately affected were visitors to Michigan's three national forests and three national parks, popular attractions during fall color season, plus the tourist businesses that rely on them.
At Sleeping Bear Dunes, where about 60 staffers were sent home, ranger Jim Dal Sasso made the rounds of the Platte River Campground informing visitors they would have to leave.
"It's affecting a lot of people," he said. "There's some that are quite upset. We had a group of 60 school kids who were coming tomorrow to float down the Platte River and have an educational program. I had to call the principal and cancel that."
Bob and Tricia Sorensen, retirees from Vernon Hills, Ill., arrived Monday night in their motor home with plans to stay four or five days.
"As a camper, I'm just sad. It's frustrating," Bob Sorensen said. "But I feel worse for the employees here who will have to go home without pay."
The political rift doesn't seem to be getting any smaller between Democrats and Republicans either.
Both sides took shots at each other Tuesday in an effort to frame the shutdown and an future electoral fallout on their opponents.
Northern Michigan Congressman Dan Benishek, R-Crystal Falls, took to his official Facebook account to accuse Senate Democrats of not negotiating on health care reform.
"I supported four measures that would have kept the government operating, but they were all ignored by the Senate," Benishek posted. "The Senate isn't even willing to talk about a compromise that will reopen the government."
On an afternoon conference call with reporters, veteran U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., accused the House Republican leadership of not allowing Senate proposals of coming to the floor for a vote.
"Everyone of us feel passionate about issues. It is only the Tea Party folks and the Republican Party leadership who they have intimidated -- and now dominated -- who have succeeded in saying that unless their particular goal is achieved, which is the dismantlement of the Affordable Care Act, that they will not allow this government to function."
Meanwhile, federal programs used Twitter to announce they would no longer be responding to tweets or other social media posts until the shutdown ends. Even the first lady, Michelle Obama, said her own personal tweets would be limited.
One Twitter account, which for two years has been providing detailed updates on NASA's Voyager 2 program, offered this less-than-comforting post before going dark: "Due to government shutdown, we will not be posting or responding from this account. Farewell, humans. Sort it out yourselves." The Twitter account, which could not be confirmed as run by NASA, was later suspended.
— Brandon Hubbard, Petoskey News-Review staff writer, and Anne Flaherty of the Associated Press contributed.