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October 17, 2013

Everglades, Dry Tortugas National Parks Begin to Reopen

Parks are beginning to reopen after government shutdown.

Portions of Everglades National Park reopened Thursday shortly after President Obama signed a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial government shutdown.

Superintendent Dan Kimball emailed most of some 350 commercial use authorization permit holders informing them he had received a directive from the National Park Service regional office to begin an orderly opening of the park.

Kimball immediately opened areas of Everglades National Park -- including Florida Bay -- that are not dependent on the reopening of facilities or return of furloughed staff.

The measure means Florida Keys fishing guides and others who were shut out of Florida Bay for 16 days can return.

Florida Bay represents about a third of the 2,380-square-mile park.

Kimball said early Thursday he expects Everglades National Park to be fully open by Friday morning and Dry Tortugas National Park should be fully operational by this afternoon.

Key West Seaplane Adventures has received permission to begin service today with a 10 a.m. flight to Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. The Fort Jefferson Ferry has been in dry dock for scheduled maintenance throughout most of the closure, and is scheduled to resume trips early next week.