Hikers, bird-watchers, picnickers — heck, just about everybody who loves the outdoors — cheered the reopening Thursday of Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park near Tucson.
Those and other federally managed sites, including many facilities in the Coronado National Forest, had been closed as a result of the partial government shutdown.
“We’re just happy we can all be out here again. I like Sabino Canyon a lot,” said Tucsonan Jeremy Hayes, who took a hike in the canyon northeast of Tucson Thursday morning with his wife, Stephanie, and their children, Brenden, 7, and Molly, 4.
Adrianna Robinett and Stephanie Babcock pushed strollers carrying their young children up the main road in the canyon soon after it was reopened to the public.
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“It’s awesome that it’s open today,” Robinett said. “It’s been hard not having it available. This is a spot where we often take visitors, so it’s good to have it back.”
Officials and visitors at Saguaro National Park were also in a celebratory mood Thursday.
“We are happy to be back working to serve the American people and welcoming visitors back to their park,” said Darla Sidles, superintendent of the park.
Hiker Ed Hassenstein trekked the Tanque Verde Ridge Trail at Saguaro Park’s east district. “I’m just really glad they’re all back at work and taking care of the park again,” Hassenstein said.
Cybelle Castillo of Tucson took her daughter, Alyna, 11, and two of her daughter’s friends for a hike and picnic at the park’s east district to mark the end of the shutdown and the return of good outdoor times.
Tumacácori National Historical Park also reopened Thursday, in time to host special events this weekend. The park, off Interstate 19 about 50 miles south of Tucson, will be open tonight for a full-moon viewing from 6:30 to 8:30. Normal entrance fees apply.
On Saturday, Tumacácori will host a commemorative Mass inside its mission church as part of an annual Anza Day celebration marking a historic 1775 expedition by Juan Bautista de Anza. Admission to the park is free during the service, beginning at 10 a.m.
Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz