Government shutdown threat nixes Commerce City fishing event: 400 kids, families affected

At this writing, the possibility of a federal government shutdown at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow still looms.

But even if a deal is made before the deadline, the mere threat has already led to the postponement of a free Commerce City family fishing event attended annually by more than 400 kids and family members.

Fishing Frenzy, slated to get underway at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, is the traditional kickoff to the fishing season at the facility -- which begins on April 16 "in theory," says Commerce City public information officer Michelle Halstead. A slew of activities would have been available, with expert fishermen expected to give novices lessons in knot-tying, line casting and more.

No wonder Fishing Frenzy is among the most well-attended happenings sponsored by Commerce City each year -- but its popularity made waiting until the last minute to postpone the bash impractical. According to Halstead, U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials sent out an e-mail yesterday informing Commerce City reps that they'd been told not to report to work on Saturday, "and we didn't want 400-plus people showing up to closed gates." Besides, she adds, it's tough to turn around at the refuge's entrance, raising the prospect of a traffic nightmare. Hence, the decision to pull the plug based on "public safety and us wanting everyone to have a positive experience," she says.

Fortunately, the event's private funders have promised to make moneys available if the Frenzy can be rescheduled, and Halstead is hopeful that'll happen before too long.

But Commerce City is at the mercy of politicians in Washington, D.C. -- as are the rest of us.

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Commerce City voted down a name change: Will Victory Crossing be victorious?"

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