Furloughed Workers Return To Mammoth Cave National Park

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Visitors from across the country were able to make their way into Mammoth Cave National Park for the first time in 16 days, but they weren't the only ones.
More than 100 workers were allowed to come back and fulfill their duties throughout the park.

"We're happy the park is open again. We're happily serving visitors for tours. The hotel is open, and the trails are ready to go. We may still have a barricade or two out, but we're just happy to be here today." said Vickie Carson of Mammoth Cave National Park.

Recently furloughed workers weren't the only ones who were excited about the park re-opening. Businesses around Mammoth Cave say the past couple of weeks have been very tough on them as well.

"We've lost the month of October already in revenues, which we'll never make up again. At least maybe we can salvage the last week of it." said a disappointed Dave Lombardi. He and his wife own Double J stables just north of the national park.

He said he fears the worst is yet to come. The potential for another gridlock during the next federal deadline could mean more business lost at a crucial time.

"It's heartbreaking. If we go again until February and they shut the government down again in March and April, we lose the spring breakers. So, it's definitely frustrating." added Lombardi.

Park officials and businesses alike said the cooler temperatures and changing leaf colors are expected to attract more visitors in the coming weeks, hopefully making up for lost time.