Mount Rainier National Park reopens after government shutdown

by: Chris Legeros Updated:

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MOUNT RAINIER, Wash. —

For the first time this month, you could actually take a picture of Mount Rainier from inside Mount Rainier National Park.

Joe and Tina Sifuentes are from Houston, Texas. They called the view "amazing."

Matt and Katylyn McKinley were relieved that they didn't have to change their travel plans for their honeymoon. They came all the way from Philadelphia just to see Mount Rainier and considered themselves "lucky" that the government shutdown finally ended.

When Congress couldn't agree on a plan to fund the federal government, 177 park service employees were furloughed Oct. 1.

Even the park superintendent, Randy King, had to stay home. He said it "feels wonderful" to be back on the job. King explained that his staff is used to welcoming visitors to the national park, not keeping them out.

King said, "I felt very sad for our country, I felt very sad for the public, I felt very sad for our employees and our partners."

More than $5,000 in park fees were lost every day that the park was closed. Nearly 2,000 people who would have visited each day had to make other plans.

Motels, restaurants and coffee shops near the park also suffered when the gates were closed. They had to stop serving breakfast at the Mt. Rainier Railroad Dining Company in Elbe. Instead of serving 20 to 30 tables per day, they were serving just one or two tables of customers. Waitress Teresa Severson said that money is gone forever.