Government

Federal installations re-open across Michigan

October 18, 2013
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From the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to national parks in the Upper Peninsula, federal installations across Michigan were re-opening Thursday after Congress reached a budget deal ending a 16-day partial government shutdown.

"I was keeping an eye on the news, and when they said the federal buildings were back open today, I figured I'd be the first one down here," said Alphonso Moore, who arrived bright and early at the Veterans Affairs office in Detroit to get some documentation related to a disability.

The shutdown idled federal employees, shut down parks at the peak of fall leaf color season and disrupted training activities at National Guard bases. State Budget Director John Nixon said earlier this month it would cost Michigan $18 million per day.

"The immediate crisis is over, but the underlying issues haven't been resolved," said Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, adding that another showdown could loom once the agreement between President Barack Obama and the two parties in Congress expires. "Our leaders need to recognize that the system in Washington is broken and needs to be fixed."

Officials with Michigan's four national parks - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park and Keweenaw National Historical Park - said they were up and running.

Isle Royale will be open just two more weeks before closing for the season, spokeswoman Liz Valencia said. The wilderness park in Lake Superior will provide no gasoline or other services.

Although all national parks were officially off-limits during the shutdown, the closure was widely ignored at Sleeping Bear Dunes, where hikers made frequent use of trails. But officials said barriers that had limited access in some places were being removed.

Also reopening were Michigan's national forests. Ken Arbogast of Huron-Manistee National Forest said its campgrounds a re closed for the season but offices will reopen Friday to handle matters such as issuing permits to cut firewood.

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids re-opened, as did the Ford library in Ann Arbor, both of which are part of the federal National Archives and Records Administration. The library said a public program scheduled for Thursday evening had been canceled.

Regular operations resumed at Selfridge Air National Guard base, where about 650 military technicians and civilian employees had already been ordered back to work.

Associated Press writers Mike Householder and David Runk contributed to this story from Detroit.

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