Crater Lake National Park Reopens After Shutdown

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Thu, October 17 2013 at 4:28 PM, Updated: Thu, October 17 2013 at 4:41 PM

Crater Lake National Park is back open for business.

Robin Hurt of Jo's Motel and Campground in Fort Klamath says the Crater Lake shutdown hit hard...

"It cut our income by more than 50 percent.  And that's with a lot of local grocery traffic.  And so if we were just a motel, we would be basically dead in the water."

Volker Dempel of Tennessee was one of the first visitors to enter the park this morning...

"I wasn't planning on it, until last night at 12 o'clock, and I said, well, what the heck - I'll try and see if they're open."

"Well, we had planned out vacation for six months to visit all the national parks...and guess what..."  Notes park visitor John Harris of New Mexico.  "So we did the California coast, and saw some beauty there, and we're doing our trip backwards now."

Not all services at Crater Lake are open.

Crater Lake Lodge is now closed for the season...as are the campground and facilities at Mazama Village.

However, the Crater Lake Cafe and Gift Shop in the Rim Village are back open for business.

Over 200 employees were benched during the shutdown.

"We did receive a letter that we could share with our creditors."  Said Marsha McCabe of Crater Lake.  "So that we could explain to them why we might be late on some of our payments."

Those not employed by the federal government won't be getting back pay.

And Robin Hurt notes it will be hard to catch up financially...

"October is good for 10 percent of our annual income usually.  So, we lost 5 - boom - out the door."

But visitors are just happy the shutdown is finally over, and the park is back open.

All 68 of the park's federal employees that had been furloughed are back on duty.  An additional 10 park staffers remained on duty during the shutdown.

Park concessionaire Xanterra hires 185 people at the peak of the season, 16 will be working through the winter.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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