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Arizona's 22 National Parks Now Open

With the federal shutdown now history, national parks reopened across the country. That included 22 parks in Arizona.

Gates were unlocked and barricades were removed at parks across the state. Andy Fisher is a spokeswoman for Saguaro Cactus National Park. She says the entire park, including all its facilities and trails, were open by the start of normal business hours.

The morning was busy – but by the end of the day, the stream of visitors has slowed.

Overall, Fisher says attendance was down from a normal weekday. But she says the people who did come were enthusiastic.

"They were all really happy. They were glad we were back. They were glad to be in. And they expressed gratitude and thanks for being there today," she said. "Of course, we were also handing them cake, so they might have enjoyed that as well."

The cake was provided by a nonprofit that supports the park. Fisher says that the park also gave out a few refunds for unused passes. The park was instructed to do so by the National Park Service on a case-by-case basis.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.