National parks open again after shutdown - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

National parks open again after shutdown

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OAK HARBOR, OH (Toledo News Now) -

It's been weeks since anyone could visit a national park, including the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Now the government is running again and employees can return to their trails.

"We thought, ‘Well, maybe they will get it figured out by Thursday or Friday at the latest,' and we'd by back to work and be back to supporting the communities," said Jason Lewis, manager of the wildlife refuge.

All 15 employees at the refuge were furloughed. They say they couldn't have come back to work at a better time.

"The phones have been ringing off the hook with inquiries," said Justin Woldt, manager of the visitor center.

Waterfowl migration just began, and that means big crowds at the park and lots of work to catch up on.

"[We'll get] 20-30 hunters a day out on the refuge, waterfowl hunting," Lewis said. "Now they're able to come back and participate in our waterfowl hunt."

Archery and deer hunting programs were canceled because of the shutdown, along with guided tours.

"We do a variety of public programming – guided hikes and guided bus tours," Woldt said. "Those were all canceled."

But the auto tour is back on Sunday. Guests can hop in their cars and explore the acres of the park normally off limits to the public.

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