Colorado National Monument employees back to work

Published: Jan. 28, 2019 at 4:23 PM MST
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Employees at the Colorado National Monument are back at work Monday for the first time since the partial government shutdown ended.

That shutdown kept around 20 employees at the Monument from going to work for a little over a month. Several of them say it allowed them to get caught up on chores and hang out with family. They didn't get paid during that time.

"My wife was still working, so taking care of things around the house, a lot of cooking, cleaning. Got a lot of projects done," Heath Martin, work lead for the masonry crew at the Colorado National Monument, said.

Now, they're working to clear sidewalks, open bathrooms and get Rimrock Drive open after several snow storms.

"I am excited to be back, there's definitely a lot that goes to keeping the Monument up and running and a welcoming place for visitors," Martin said. "It's good to be back and just get things back in order and just get the park back open to the public again."

Employees at the Monument say unlike many other national parks, folks who came through the area cleaned up trash and kept the park in good condition.

"We were very fortunate, this community looks after this place," Arlene Jackson, chief of interpretation at the Monument, said.

The Monument had a fee increase go into place on January 1 which the park is working to implement now that they're back open. It will now cost $10 for pedestrians or bicyclists and $20 for a vehicle.