After a very stressful 10 days for those who run Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours, finally some relief from the government shutdown.
Thursday afternoon, Taylor Falls Scenic Boat Tours Vice President Amy Frischmon learned her boat tours can resume operations through this the last tour weekend of the season.
That's good news considering Frischmon only had two questions on the forefront of her mind when the National Park Service ordered her to suspend services on the St. Croix.
"How can the federal government tell us to stay off the river? How do you close a river?! It didn't make any sense to us!" she said.
The vice president of the family-owned business, which was established in 1906, knew something was amiss upon receiving the order. As far as Frischmon knew, her conditional use operations permit was the reason she was forced to turn clients away for 10 straight days.
"Because we have a permit to operate on the river, the National Park Service told us to suspend our service on the river," she explained. "The boat was booked all day every day, all day. We had a wedding, dinner cruises, onboard luncheons, private charters, family reunions, anniversary parties -- and we had to call all those guests and say, 'I'm sorry.'"
That amounts to a $100,000 to $150,000 hit for Taylors Falls Scenic Boat Tours.
"I hear my sales team say, ‘No. I'm sorry, we can't operate. The federal government has shut down,' which means we can't operate the boats and canoes. To hear that over and over again, it just tears your heart out," Frischmon admitted.
Frischmon says the last few days have not gone by without a relentless fight.
"We've been doing everything in our power to talk to local lawmakers to find out how could this be," she said.
Especially since the fall colors are at their peak.
"As far as the relief and how I feel -- I can't even describe it," she said. "We're just trying to run a business. We want to be able to pay our taxes!"
The National Parks Service lifted the suspension from the tours, but only for the next three days.
"There's no reason we shouldn't be able to go out on the river!" exclaimed Frischmon.
To help make up for lost time, seven extra boat cruises are scheduled this weekend at Taylor Falls.
Friday tours will run at 1:30 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m. The tours on Saturday and Sunday will start at 11:30 a.m., and tours will run every hour on the half hour until 5:30 p.m.
To learn more, visit: www.taylorfallsboat.com