The end of the federal government shutdown is good news for those who are losing business because of the closure of the Cape Lookout National Seashore.
Officials at Cape Lookout said the park fully reopened this morning. The ferries are also running again to Core Banks from the mainland.
Officials ushered everyone off Cape Lookout shortly after all national parks closed on October 1.
Spokesman Wouter Ketel says all of their full-time employees returned to work this morning, while a couple of volunteers will be back by the weekend.
Ketel says if you had cabin reservations from today going forward they are still valid.
Cape Lookout has between 16 and 18 full-time employees this time of year.
Facilities along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore also are reopening.
Seashore visitor centers, information areas and off-road vehicle permit offices are open on Hatteras.
The Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site have also resumed normal hours of operation.
Statement from Outer Banks Group National Parks
Outer Banks Group National Parks Reopen!
Superintendent Barclay Trimble announced the Outer Banks Group national parks are re-opening today. Park facilities and Cape Hatteras National Seashore beach access ramps to popular park beaches, all ocean and soundside beach areas have been evaluated for safe access for both pedestrians and vehicles. Seashore visitor centers, information areas and off-road vehicle permit offices are open. Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site are open and have resumed normal hours of operation.
“We are happy to be back at work serving the American people and welcoming the thousands of visitors to their national parks,” stated Superintendent Trimble. “We are proud to be a member of this community and are pleased to once again contribute greatly to the local economy.”
The following is a summary of the status of park beach access areas/ramps:
• Bodie Island Oregon Inlet Area:
Ramp 1 and 2 are open to pedestrian access
Ramp 4 is open to ORV access
• Rodanthe-Waves-Salvo Area:
Ramp 23 is open to pedestrians and reopens to ORVs on November 1
Ramp 27 is open
Ramp 30 is open
• Avon Area:
Ramp 34 is open to pedestrians and reopens to ORVs on November 1
Ramp 38 open
• Cape Point-Buxton- Hatteras Area:
Ramp 43 is open
Ramp 44 is open
Ramp 45 is open to pedestrians
Ramp 49 is open
Ramp 55 and the Pole Road are open
• Ocracoke Island:
Ramp 59 is open
Ramp 67 is open
Ramp 68 is open to pedestrians and reopens to ORVs on November 1
Ramp 70 is open
Ramp 72 is open
From September 16 to November 15, night driving is allowed on ORV routes, or portions thereof, with no turtle nests remaining. A permit is required for any off-road vehicle use in Cape Hatteras National Seashore. On-site signage of a closed area will be clearly marked in the field with “symbolic fencing” consisting of wooden or carsonite posts, closure signs, string and black filter fencing.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse are closed to general climbing for the 2013 season.
All park campgrounds, except Ocracoke are closed for the 2013 season. Ocracoke campground is expected to reopen at noon today.
People in the east who count on tourism to make a living have been hoping and praying the federal government would find a way to reopen national parks.
Communities like Davis and Smyrna in Carteret County depend on people visiting the Cape Lookout National Seashore to survive.
While summer is considered the busiest time of year, fall is very important as well for people who work here. Shore fishermen from all over the east coast come to Cape Lookout to catch the big drum fish, trout, and blue fish that zip by the coast this time of year.
"I sell gourds here on the side of the road as a little hobby, and I get a little income out of it, but the ferries shut down and the government shut down has really hurt my business the past two weeks," Said small businessman Roger Graham.
Roger Graham grows, dries, paints, and sells his gourd bird houses to tourists driving by on their way to and from ferry services. He tells me typically this time of year he sells 10 to 12 gourds a week. In the past two weeks he has sold only 2.
As of Wednesday, the last runs for ferry services in Down East Carteret were two weeks ago, when the National Park Service told them to stop shuttling people to and from Cape Lookout.