Rangers, staff and visitors excited Yosemite resumes full operations

OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was back to business for park officials and staff members Monday as rangers were once again greeting visitors at Yosemite following the end of the partial government shutdown.

"It's a great feeling. A feeling of relief that the shutdown is over. And we're all really excited to be back," said park ranger Scott Gediman.

The visitor center, museum and campgrounds all reopened Monday.

Just as the park's nearly 500 employees, which included maintenance workers, office staff and rangers, are beginning to trickle back into work.

"The focus this week is payroll and getting folks paid. And not just us with the 800,00 folks across the country...it's the question of getting the process going and getting everybody going," Gediman said.

Reports of trash and human waste had many visitors we spoke to concerned for what they may find inside the park. But officials say volunteers spent hours cleaning up during the shutdown to get the area presentable for tourists ready to experience Yosemite's majestic views.

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"I read all these horror stories about how people were pooping in the streets and stuff like that. I just thought it would be full off rubbish and our biggest worry was just driving in," said Marlene Schmidt, a visitor from Germany.

Visitors still had access to the park during the shutdown, but many of the operations were limited.

"The biggest difference is people are going to start seeing services. The concession facilities will start to open back up so it's more normal," Gediman said.

The National Park was free for visitors Monday but officials tell me they expect to start charging again by tomorrow.
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