Posted: Friday, October 18th 2013 at 1:35pm
US Forest Service recreation sites re-opening
Kevin Roper, a Forest Service recreation technician who was furloughed during the 16-day government shutdown, reopens the gate to the Beasley Knob OHV trail system near Blairsville on Thursday, October 17. (Photo by USDA Forest Service/Valencia Morris)
GAINESVILLE - Recreation facilities and offices across the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests are reopening after Forest Service employees began returning to work on Thursday, October 17.
"We are very eager to get back to the good work of managing the people’s forest," said Forest Supervisor Betty Mathews. "We ask for visitors’ patience as we do our best to safely and quickly resume normal operations."
Mathews said it took a few days for all facilities to be closed when the partial government shutdown occurred, so it's now taking some time to get the facilities back up and running.
Mathews said employees are working to clean and evaluate the safety of each facility and site, repair any vandalism or resource damage that may have occurred during the shutdown, and startup water systems and other utilities.
"We look forward to working with our partners and volunteers to make all of our programs and activities available again as soon as possible," said Mathews.
Most recreation areas that were closed because of the shutdown are expected to be open for the weekend, including sites such as Brasstown Bald and Anna Ruby Falls Visitor Centers which are operated by concessionaires. Some sites that normally close seasonally may not reopen.
All district offices are now open during regular business hours for the sale of passes and permits.
For current information on the status of all national forest recreation areas, please visit the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests website at www.fs.usda.gov/conf, or call (770) 297-3000.
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