DELAWARE WATER GAP NATIONAL RECREATION AREA — After being off the job for more than a month, National Park Service employees are returning to work.
Officials with the National Park Service say there is a lot of work to be done now that offices are open again.
Park trails took a hit from garbage and weather-related issues, so getting those places back on track is just one of many tasks workers have to face.
It’s been 35 days since National Park Service public affairs specialist Kathleen Sandt has been in her office. The government shutdown kept her from answering phone calls, emails, and doing interviews. She’s happy to be back after the shutdown was lifted on Saturday.
“Our employees are really happy to be back at work doing the job that we love: serving the American people and welcoming the victors that come here to our national park,” said Sandt.
Sandt says there is a lot of work to be done, both in office and out in the park.
“Some of our employees here, we had about 27 of them that worked through the entire shutdown period, and so we are working to make sure that those employees and the rest of our employees are getting paid this week is their top priority. The rest of the team is working in the park to make sure that we can get everything back open again,” said Sandt.
For anyone who used to rely on the park service website or social media pages for updates and information, that is all back up and running, too.
“We will be getting that information back out there and back to all of our regular systems that we normally use to keep people informed.”
The federal government will be open for three weeks while negotiations continue.
Park officials say they are hopeful a deal will be reached but have to plan for either outcome.
“We are planning and proceeding regardless, we got a plan for the future, we got to get ready for the summer and the visitors to come,” Sandt added.
The National Park Service office will officially reopen Tuesday.