Posted at: 10/17/2013 6:11 PM
Updated at: 10/17/2013 6:31 PM
By: Mark Mulholland
STILLWATER - Pat Grennan had big plans this week.
"My wife and I had planned a trip to Washington D.C. For this whole week and had to cancel it," said the visitor from Seattle.
With all of the national parks closed in our nation's capital, Glennan instead came to Upstate New York to visit relatives. And Thursday they ended up at Saratoga National Historical Park, which just re-opened after 16 days of being shutdown because of the shutdown.
The park's 28 furloughed employees found out early Thursday morning that they were expected back to work. Which meant visitors would once again be allowed in.
"The chief ranger who was on duty, certainly turned away a number of visitors who were very gracious and understanding. But there were national and international visitors who were turned away as a result of this event," said Joe Finan, park superintendent.
The shutdown didn't end in time for the park to get ready for its popular candlelight tour of the Schuyler House this weekend. The superintendent saying there's too much to do and not enough time.
"After we assessed the site, and took a look at what the work load was, we decided that we would be unable to pull it off," said Finan.
The park and its visitors, who pump more than 7 million dollars into the area economy each year, are hoping that another shutdown doesn't happen in January when the current agreement expires.
Pat Glennan has seen enough of the shutdowns. "It's absurd. If this is the way we're going to do politics from now on, it's ridiculous."