JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Employees and visitors are starting to return to national parks in Mississippi following a deal to end the federal government's partial shutdown.
At the Vicksburg National Military Park, superintendent Mike Madell said there was a steady stream of visitors at the historic Civil War battlefield on Thursday and 42 furloughed employees were being recalled to work.
"I was just upstairs in the visitor center and it was full up there," Madell said Thursday.
About 175 National Park Service workers in Mississippi were furloughed, though the number fluctuated at times based on needs, said Bill Reynolds, spokesman for the agency.
Reynolds said all eight national parks in Mississippi have reopened or are in the process of doing so.
"Bringing people back and opening things up takes time, but they are in the process of reopening," Reynolds said.
The shutdown also hurt businesses that depend on the parks.
In Gulfport, it left about 12 to 15 employees idle at Ship Island Excursions, a business that runs ferry boats to a barrier island that is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, said Kevin Buckel, the company's director of sales.
The company couldn't take visitors to the island because it was closed.
"We deal with hurricanes. We deal with oil spills. I guess this is just another day at Ship Island," Buckel said.
The shutdown stretched through one of south Mississippi's premier events, a weeklong classic car show called Cruisin' the Coast, which draws thousands of visitors from around the country.
"We lost a lot of business with that event," Buckel said. He also said school groups had to cancel trips.
The ferry to Ship Island is expected to resume operations Friday, and the company hopes to make up its losses before the season closes Oct. 27.