Chequamegon-Nicolet Forest Staff Back Up To Speed
Things have returned to routine--for now-- at the US Forest Service office in Rhinelander.
The longest federal shutdown in history--35 days--halted many agencies including the Chequamgeon-Nicolet National Forest, though not all workers were off.
Spokesperson Hilary Markin says operations are returning to normal...
"Recognizing the impact the partial shutdown had on the important work our agency does on behalf of our taxpayers. With funding restored, we're reassessing our priorities for the remainder of the year. Getting back to work, going out and grooming snow trails with all the snow we're having we're enjoying being able to get back out and groom trails so the public can enjoy the national forest..."
Markin says it took awhile to get operations back and running...
"..When you leave things sit for 35 days, that's all of our vehicles, equipment and we had that really cold spell. Making sure vehicles were functioning properly, all of our equipment wasn't damaged, there's a lot that goes into that when you walk away for a period of time...."
Hilary Markin says during the shutdown there was some short-term administration of timber sales which are on-going. She says during the shutdown, volunteers stepped up....
"We're appreciative of our partners. There were a lot of volunteers, probably community members who went out and picked up garbage along rec sites. We're very thankful for all the help and support during the shutdown. We're happy to be back at work and get back at it..."
The federal government shutdown began on December 22 and ran until January 25. The funding to continue government operations ends on February 15, unless Congress and the White House agree on a continuation.