BURBANK, Wash. - It's been a whirlwind for federal employees the last few weeks during the first federal government shutdown in 17 years. Sixteen days of uncertainty, to be exact. But Thursday, employees with the Corps of Engineers and the McNary Wildlife Refuge were back to work.
"Oh, it's so wonderful. Lots of hugs, hi's, we can't wait to see you. a lot of people very excited to come back to work. That was a long period of time and this is part of my family, being here at work. We very much enjoy what we do," said Sue McDonald with the McNary Wildlife Refuge.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officers were certainly missed. With 80% of their staff furloughed, avid hunters missed the opening of water fowl season last weekend at McNary.
"We will be open this weekend, including both of our fee hunt areas at McNary and Umatilla. We'll be ready. We may not have everything mowed and all the signs up, we'll do our best in the next two days to get ready but we're very excited to welcome them back this weekend," said McDonald.
"We were very fortunate here in the Walla Walla District. We had some carryover funds from fiscal year 2013 that we were allowed to spend so not everybody had to go home," said Gina Baltrusch with the Walla Walla Corps of Engineers.
Several rangers were furloughed but were back to work Thursday opening up nature trails and boat launches.
"I work for the public. These places are for the people and it was heartbreaking, for me, not to be there for them," said McDonald.