From Yosemite to the Pentagon, thousands of federal workers returned to work Thursday and many government functions restarted after 16 days of furloughs forced by the partial shutdown.
With resolution of the political impasse in Congress on Wednesday night, Yosemite National Park in California reopened its gates before midnight and said its hotels, shops and other operations would be running Thursday. Other parks reopened Thursday morning around the country.
"I am thrilled to be back,'' National Park Service worker Carol Johnson said.
Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell issued a memorandum directing furloughed workers to return to work and affected agencies to restart: "You should reopen offices in a prompt and orderly manner."
At the White House, hundreds of employees returned to tasks ranging from copying and filing to reclaiming the overgrown lawn and gardens. About three-quarters of the 1,700 White House workers had been furloughed. The Defense Department called back about 7,000 furloughed civilians.
"Thank you," President Obama said to federal workers during a White House speech. "Thanks for your service."
Vice President Biden distributed hugs and muffins to returning workers at the Environmental Protection Agency building. He singled out a woman wheeling a small suitcase.
"Is that all the work that piled up?" Biden asked the woman. "Yes, it is. I was very tempted to do it," the woman replied.
Federal workers who were furloughed or worked without pay during the shutdown will get back pay in their next paychecks, which for most employees come Oct. 29.
Nick Schwellenbach, a senior fiscal policy analyst for the Center for Effective Government, warned that it could take a few weeks for agencies with large numbers of furloughed workers to be fully operational.
"It was a two-week shutdown, that's not an insignificant amount of time, and work piles up," he said. He said agencies that process applications, such as the IRS, may take a while to catch up on any backlogs. At the National Institutes of Health, "a scientist whose experiments were interrupted and ruined may need to start over," he said.
National parks and memorials had been a flashpoint during the shutdown. Angry protesters, some wearing Tea Party regalia and others waving Confederate flags, confronted police and carried away barriers at some National Mall sites in Washington during the shutdown.
"The worst part for me was not just being off, but seeing that the Park Service was getting a black eye undeservedly," Johnson said. "For the people who work for the Park Service, this isn't just a job, this is a mission."
Twitter was alive with gleeful reports from departments and institutions heralding reopenings.
NASA tweeted: "We're back and in the process of turning things back on! http://www.nasa.gov and #NASA TV will be up as soon as possible!"
Smithsonian: "We're back from the #shutdown! Smithsonian museums will reopen on Thursday and the @NationalZoo will reopen on Friday."
The panda cam at the National Zoo was back up and running at 10 a.m.
The good news was tweeted from as far away as the Red Planet. "Mars rover Curiosity: Allow me to reintroduce myself. I'm back on Twitter & even closer to Mars' Mount Sharp."
Back on Earth, Jason Labay said he felt giddy as he returned to work at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The center's director and senior managers greeted the staff as they entered, like principals greet students on the first day of school.
"The first couple of days of the furlough were nice but pretty quickly I was aching to get back to work," said Labay, whose team develops the radioisotope systems that go into probes that explore deep space. "We're just excited to be back."
Lisa Jenkins of McLean, Va., reported back to her job in IT with the Environmental Protection Agency at 7 a.m. Jenkins, who spent much of her furlough time working on a rural Virginia home she and her husband are converting into a bed and breakfast, said she loves her EPA job.
"I am thrilled to be back," she said.
The joy could be short-lived. The bipartisan agreement that reopened the government is temporary. January could bring more controversy — and more furloughs.
"There's still a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks for lawmakers to reach an agreement on a budget beyond January 15," Navajo Nation President Ben Shelley said in a statement. "During the budget negotiation process lawmakers must remember their trust obligations to Indian Country under federal laws and treaties."
You don't have to be heavily reliant on federal funding to be concerned.
In Fort Myers, Fla., Bill Wiemer, 64, said he's "deeply upset with the Republicans and Democrats being so selfish and not being able to put the country first."
The real problem is the country's debt, according to Wiemer. The proposed deal "hasn't solved the problem in the long run," he said.
"The government shutdown has been harming folks in Montana and the nation, so it's good they're getting it resolved," said Tim Shanks, 60, in Great Falls, Mont. "Hopefully they can get it done permanently and not just extend the argument out. We need to get things back to normal and move on."
Contributing: William M. Welch, USA TODAY; Marisa Kendall, The News-Press in Fort Myers, Fla.; John S. Adams, Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune; the Associated Press