CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, Ore. – Crater Lake National Park is back open, following a five-week long closure due to the partial government shutdown.
There are still some Christmas decorations up in the park administration building, as the shutdown began December 22nd.
But Crater Lake is back open to visitors.
“We’re all very happy to be back to work and taking care of the park again,” said Interpretive Ranger Marsha McCabe.
The shutdown forced the closure of restrooms and trash pickup at the park, leading to some unpleasant messes to clean up.
“Certainly a lot of that has probably been at least pushed aside by the snow plows, in their plowing operations,” McCabe said. “It may require cleanup in the spring as the snow melts.”
McCabe added that road crews worked through the weekend to get the park ready. We were able to get things opened up fairly quickly – we had to dig out Rim Village, so folks could get up there and have a great spot to see the lake.”
Jim and Lois Wyant of Indiana were among the first to make their way up to the rim.
“We were kind of watching to make sure that we could get in,” Lois Wyant said. “So we were pretty excited over the weekend when they said it was open.”
“I’ve seen it in the summertime, many, many years ago,” Jim Wyant said. “But every time you see it, it’s outstanding.”
McCabe pointed out if a federal budget resolution can’t be reached, the park could close again in mid-February. “We certainly remain hopeful that folks will come to an agreement and we can continue working, and running the park.”
There’s no guarantee how long Crater Lake National Park will remain open, but it’s open for now.
About 50 federal employees at Crater Lake were furloughed as a result of the shutdown.
An emergency crew of about 10 stayed on at the park, working without pay.
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.