GSMNP rangers return to work following longest government shutdown in US history

Local News

The most recent partial government shutdown lasted 35 days. It was the longest in American history.

President Trump officially signed the spending bill from Congress Friday night. But it’s only temporary. The government funding runs out again in 21 days.

Regardless, the government reopening is good news for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Staffers there were back to work Saturday. 

“We’re back. We’re so happy to be back at work here in the national park again,” said Lisa Nagurny, GSMNP park ranger.

A re-opened government is bringing renewed seven day coverage and full staff back to the Smokies. 

“Trails are open. Currently roads are open, weather permitting. We have our visitors centers are open, restrooms are open, trashcans are being picked up again as well. So we are back to normal as far as park operations go,” Nagurny said.

That means the people visiting this weekend are able to take in the sites and get the full Smokies experience. 

“It’s beautiful and I’m just glad that I get to see it,” said TJ Shaw.

“I love their view and I love their colors and all that stuff,” said Rori Gann.

“It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t have people here to do their job to make the experience as beautiful as it is today,” said Miayah McCullough.

Over the last 35 days, during the partial government shutdown, the park’s nonprofit partners temporarily funded some services there, and volunteers stepped up to help keep the park clean.

“The outpouring of support from the community has really been great for this last month,” Nagurny said.

The park-goers we spoke to are also thankful that a resolution, even if it’s temporary, is here.

“We’re extremely happy for the families, and they deserve this. The families that come here vacationing deserve to have clean restrooms and that kind of thing,” Jacky Gann said.

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