Barricades came down, open signs switched on, and employees went back to work as Glacier National Park reopened. The partial government shutdown closed the national parks October first.
Public Affairs Officer Denise Germann says the Park had about 20 to 30 people working during the shutdown. As of Thursday about 250 employees were back on.
She said a lot of the work going on right now involves getting housing and lodging buttoned up for the winter.
“I think everyone is delighted to be back to work, and I think we talked about this earlier; the folks that work for the National Park Service, they love the resource, they love the natural and cultural resources of Glacier National Park, and they love the visitor, and that’s why most of us are into the job that we’re into. We enjoy what we do, we believe in what we do, and not being able to do that is very challenging,” Germann said.
However, she said the future for Park funding remains up in the air.
“I’m not sure that we understand what this continuing resolution or this budget bill that has been passed, what it means to us as a Park Service site, I believe it’s back at Sequestration levels, and it will be very challenging to continue the management of the Park in the way that we’ve been managing the Park with the resources provided,” Germann said right now they’ll just have to wait and see what happens in January.
For now, Glacier Park is open with access along the west side of the Going to the Sun Road scheduled to stay open up to the Big Bend until Sunday, October 20th.