The Gasquet Ranger District has resumed its normal business hours since it and other areas of the Six Rivers National Forest were closed due to the partial government shutdown.
Though staff didn’t answer phones or return emails during the 35 day shutdown, the compound at 10600 U.S. 199 in Gasquet wasn’t abandoned, said District Ranger Jeffrey Marszal on Friday. A law enforcement officer and the fire management officer, considered essential personnel, were on duty. Marszal said as the district ranger, he was also considered essential.
Other district staff members — it has about 33 permanent employees, a number that doubles in summer, according to Marszal — stayed home during the shutdown. However, he said, firefighters were available “at a moment’s notice” in case of emergency.
Despite not experiencing any vandalism or other issues as the shutdown wore on, district staff were unable to provide firewood permits for charge since its collections system was inoperational, Marszal said.
“Last week we did offer up free firewood permits and would have continued to do so had the furlough continued,” he said. “We did have people take advantage of that last week. We were open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.”
When the ranger district reopened on Monday, Marszal said, about 25 people were waiting for permits. At about this time of year, the Gasquet Ranger District issues about 10-15 firewood permits per day and between 200 and 250 per month, he said.
“The district and forest are very glad to be back at work doing what we do best,” Marszal said, “improving forest health and serving our communities.”
The ranger district’s regular hours are from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.