Furloughed Employees Return to Shenandoah National Park

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Close to 200 visitors stopped by the Shenandoah National Park's Swift Run Gap entrance after the government reopened.

After 16 days, employees at the Shenandoah National Park are back to work to assist customers.

"Everyone was welcoming us back. They were very thankful that we were open," said Brenda Butler, who was furloughed during the shutdown.

She said during the shutdown, she watched TV and sat by the phone waiting for a call. One that would notify her that it was time to get back to work.

With the park and the government reopened, visitors were also excited for the chance to get back to the things they love.

"Today is the day, I'm going to come up and take pictures. It's a good day for it," said Eugene Shifflett, who is a Shenandoah National Park annual pass holder.

"We do have a lot of older folks that come up too and it's just the drive and the scenery for them," said Butler.

"I hold an annual pass. It's paid and it's good through March of next year," said David Carnes.

He sneaked into the park even when it was closed. He's happy he is finally able to legally enter.

Carnes said the shutdown will have an impact on how he votes in the governor's race.

"This won't be a primary determining factor in how I vote, but it will certainly be in the back of mind," said Carnes.

Butler said although she will be receiving back pay, it doesn't quite make up for the uncertainty she felt.

"You still had that wait and anticipation of not knowing what or when things were going to happen or when the shutdown was going to be over," said Butler.

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