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North Coast federal sites reopen after government shutdown ends

  • Jerry Garibaldi rides in a speedboat driven by his friend Carl Biagi at Lake Sonoma on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013. (BETH SCHLANKER/ PD)

Federal offices and parks in the North Coast began reopening Thursday, hours after the end of the government shutdown, but officials say it may be several days before operations are back to normal at all locations.

Day-use areas of the park at Lake Sonoma were open, including the dog park, the disk golf course, visitor center and picnic areas, but Army Corps of Engineers spokesman J.D. Hardesty said campgrounds there and at Lake Mendocino would remain closed for now. Daytime hunting is allowed but not overnight hunting.

It will take days to call back employees and restore contracts for janitorial and other support services at both lakes, so visitors can expect inconveniences such as closed restrooms to persist through the weekend.

Lake Sonoma Reopens

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Boating and fishing are once more permitted on Lake Sonoma, he said. One of the two public boat ramps, off Rockpile Road, is open but it is not clear when the other will be clear for use.

The private ramp at the marina is open for use, though there is a $15-per-day fee.

Marina General Manager Janet Folk said the closure was devastating for her business, costing more than 90 percent of expected revenue for the last two weeks.

The marina was allowed to remain open during the shutdown, but since the lake itself was off limits, it was unable to use any of its 23 rental boats, which rent from $25 an hour to more than $500 a day.

None of the 300 full-time boat owners were allowed on the lake either, meaning the marina lost sales of fuel and supplies to those customers.

“We will not be able to make that up,” she said, though fishermen had returned to the lake within hours of the end of the shutdown.

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