Claremore Daily Progress

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October 17, 2013

After shutdown, government moves back to business

WASHINGTON D.C. —

Barriers came down at federal memorials and National Park Service sites and thousands of furloughed federal workers — relieved but wary — returned to work across the country Thursday after 16 days off the job due to the partial government shutdown.
Among the sites reopening were Yosemite National Park in California, the Smithsonian Institution’s network of popular museums, and the World War II memorial in Washington, which had been the scene of protests over the shutdown.
“Just to be able to get back to serving the public is so important,” said Greg Bettwy, preparing to return to work with the Smithsonian’s human resource department.
For other returning workers, shutdown-related frustration turned to elation at being back on the job. Some confronted backlogs of email and paperwork; others voiced concern that a gridlocked Congress might trigger another shutdown in January.
“The phrase everyone is talking about is ‘kicking the can down the road,’” said Richard Marcus of Silver Spring, Md., who has worked at the National Archives and Records Administration for 29 years. “We’d hate to have to live through this all over again.”
National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said all 401 national park units — from Golden Gate National Recreation Area in California to Acadia National Park in Maine — were expected to reopen Thursday. The reopenings include tour roads, trails, visitor centers and other facilities at the park sites. Educational programs will resume, and permits will again be issued for special activities, Jarvis said.
Also reopening are dozens of programs that preserve nature and historic sites and improve access to outdoor recreation in local communities. And the U.S. Forest Service started lifting a ban on national forests. American Forest Resource Council President Tom Partin said national forest campgrounds would reopen as soon as employees could visit to make sure they’re clean and safe.

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