Alcatraz Island will open Thursday


For the first time in more than two weeks, Bay Area residents and tourists will be able to return to Alcatraz, Muir Woods and parts of the Golden Gate Park Recreation area that were closed due to the federal government shutdown.

These and other popular Bay Area destinations are among more than 400 national parks and monuments that have been off-limits to the public since the shutdown began on Oct. 1.

Park workers are preparing to return to work Thursday after a congressional vote this evening that approved a deal to end the shutdown and prevent the federal government from defaulting on its financial obligations.

"After a 17-day shutdown, Congress has reached a short-term budget resolution that re-opens the federal government, including our 401 national parks and monuments," National Parks Conservation Association Acting President Theresa Pierno said in a statement Wednesday night.

"We are grateful that the dedicated men and women of the National Park Service can return to their jobs serving the American public as stewards of some of America's most spectacular lands and significant historic sites," she said.

National parks have officially reopened as of Wednesday night and Alcatraz Cruises, the official government concessioner for tours of the historic island, announced it would resume normal trips to Alcatraz Island beginning 8:45 a.m. Thursday.

Bay Area residents planning to visit Yosemite National Park this week will be able to check into accommodations or campsites at the park starting at noon Thursday, park officials said.

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