While most people are aware the Senate passed a bill today to end the shutdown, and that the bill is now in the hands of the House of Representatives and expected to pass, no one knows what that means for the long term. Federal employees, including those in the employ of the National Park Service will receive back pay and a spokesperson for the National Park Service said they hope to reopen the National Parks “as soon as possible.” That is bittersweet news for those living in the Big Bend area as the passage of the bill affords only a temporary solution and January 15 looms large. Ironically, the 15th is the birthday of Martin Luther King and another National Holiday coincides with it, just as Columbus Day did with the October 1 shutdown, impacting thousands of visitors to our National Parks and hundreds to Big Bend National Park in particular. We’ll see what tomorrow brings and, hopefully, the clouds that are lifting over the Chisos this evening are symbolic of the clouds lifting over the current crisis.
Sharron Reed is a resident of Terlingua, Texas and a correspondent for KRTS, Marfa Public Radio.