LOLO – The partial government shutdown ended on Friday after federal employees missed two paychecks.
Among those waiting for back pay are the 70 US Forest Service employees who take care of the Lolo Pass Visitor’s Center in Idaho — which was back up and running over the weekend.
Dozens of people stopped by to take part in the third annual Winter Recreation Demo Days.
Five Missoula clubs and organizations volunteered to show the public how to wax skis, winter camp, and snowshoe.
District Ranger Brandon Knapton says that despite a lack of money due to the shutdown, they were able to use prior year funding to set up for Demo Day.
“I’ve seen a lot of smiling faces, and people that are just happy that we’re back up and running, and able to come out on a beautiful sunny day and enjoy,” Knapton said.
Missoula resident Mariah Mcintosh learned how to skate-ski at the demonstrations, and says she hopes the USFS continues to stay up and running.
“It’s a good way to, you know, experience Montana, and all of the public lands that we have, that we’re so lucky to be able to enjoy here,” Mcintosh said.
Demo Days was supposed to last for two days this year but was condensed with organizers saying the event was a priority, and they planned on holding it even if the government was still closed down.
Overall, about 7,000 federal employees in Montana were affected by the partial government shutdown.
Reporting by Katie Miller for MTN News