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California’s National Parks Returning To Normal Operations

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) – California’s signature national parks are getting back to normal operations following the 35-day partial federal government shutdown. Yosemite National Park’s entrance stations were staffed by rangers on Monday to collect fees and provide information. Elsewhere in the Sierra Nevada, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks said they would resume regular winter season operations Tuesday. In the deserts, staff is back at work at Death Valley and Joshua Tree, although the parks advise that not all functions or areas will be immediately back to normal for reasons including the need to flush and test water systems and clear storm debris. Operations have also resumed in the huge Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area west of Los Angeles but large areas remain closed due to damage from the Woolsey wildfire. Meantime, Lassen Volcanic National Park wasted no time in resuming full operations after the government shutdown was lifted. Heavy smowfall in the last few weeks has made for a variety of winter recreational activities. Free ranger-led snowshoe walks resumed Sunday, with snowshoes provided by the park. They’ll continue through March 31st. Camping and other activities can be found at nps.gov/lavo. The park winter entrance fee is $10 per car. Park Superintendant Jim Richardson says the park’s employees are very happy to be back at work.