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NM national parks, monuments open to visitors after shutdown ends

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Two of New Mexico’s most iconic tourist attractions have reopened today, after Congress approved a bill late last night to end a 16-day partial federal government shutdown.

At Carlsbad Caverns National Park in southeast New Mexico, employees were alerted yesterday to the possibility of the park being reopened, park superintendent John Benjamin said.

Some workers came in early this mofning to clear debris from the road leading to the popular caverns, he said.

“We made a smooth opening this morning,” Benjamin said. “Everyone was very happy to be back at work.”

Meanwhile, at Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos, facilities were opened to the public at noon and visitor soon began pouring in.

“We’ve only been open for an hour and we’re very, very busy,” Bandelier spokeswoman Chris Judson said.

Shuttle buses to Bandelier National Monument are not running today but will resume tomorrow, she added.

Including Carlsbad Caverns and Bandelier, New Mexico has 11 national parks and monuments, all of which were closed during the government shutdown.

Check back later for more updates.

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