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Letter

The recent government shutdown lasted longer than any other shutdown, and after more than a full month our federal employees and our national parks feel the full brunt of being used as political bargaining chips.

Those employees who take care of our national parks, who inspect our food and do environmental compliance checks did not deserve to go without pay and even back pay cannot fix the missed payments and marks on their credit scores many had to deal with.

This reckless shutdown caused permanent damage to our national parks with no one to clean up after visitors or ensure they do not violate key rules about motorized recreation. The combination of many visitors riding ATVs through wilderness areas and human waste and trash overflowing can cause long-term damage that isn’t easily repaired.

While the shutdown is over for now, there is a threat that in two weeks it could be shut down again. No other country plays with its federal workers like this. We need to end shutdown politics for good, and put measures in place that continue to fund agencies at current levels when agreements can’t be reached in time.

Alexis Baker,

Missoula

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