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All Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest ranger stations, administrative offices and recreation facilities that were temporarily closed due to the federal shutdown that began on October 1 are now open to serve the public.
U.S. Forest Service managers have also reinstated timber and stewardship contracts that were suspended during the shutdown, although factors such as weather, terrain conditions and contractor readiness will affect the completion of this work.
On Thursday, employees began returning to work and started an orderly process for reopening facilities and providing services. They reopened recreation facilities, after thoroughly evaluating the safety and cleanliness of each facility.
Recreation managers will begin implementing routine wintertime closures for some campgrounds and other facilities so agency officials recommend contacting ranger stations before planning trips to the four-million-acre national forest. Public access to the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest was maintained during the federal shutdown, but many recreation sites and all ranger stations were closed.
“We’re very happy to be back at work, and greatly appreciated the patience the public has demonstrated while we resumed normal operations,” said Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest Supervisor Mike Balboni.