National Park Shutdown

Oct 14, 2013 View Comments by

National Park ShutdownThe government is shut down, but what does that even mean? I don’t follow politics very often, or even like to talk about them much because I usually just get worked up and upset. It’s hard for me to look past all the corruption, greed, and self-centeredness of it all to see the good that does come out of it. Last week while scanning my daily news platform (Facebook), I came across a confusing post about one of my friends not being able to see Mount Rushmore. It was closed. I clicked on the comments to her status only to find out that Yellowstone was closing and other national parks as well. What is going on? Luckily, I have Google at my fingertips at all times to inquire about these things. Google, why is Yellowstone National Park closed? For the next 15 minutes I find myself scanning articles from more reputable news sources than Facebook to get the gist of the problem.  Apparently a budget wasn’t decided on so all non-essential parts of the federal government are shut down until a budget can be made. I don’t know why I’m explaining all this to you as I’m sure by now you already know much more about this than I. What I do know is that all National Parks are closed and that’s a huge bummer if you are on a big motorcycle trip right now. Memories come flooding back of my ride in August when we hit four national parks in 21 days.

Crater Lake National Park blew my mind. It was the only park during that trip that I hadn’t been to before. I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off gleaning as much information from all the signs that I could find to read, as well as from the park rangers and my riding partner Joe. That lake is interesting and it holds the record for the clearest lake in the world. It also holds a steady water level even though there are no inlets or outlets and, of course, it’s beautiful

Next was Glacier National Park. Road construction along the famous “Road to the Sun” slowed us down, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing on a glacier. (That’s an inside joke because the day before I got a speeding ticket in the park.) The glaciers are melting fast so it’s great to see now while they are still around. We were told that they could all be gone as soon as 2025.

Yellowstone National Park brought us hours of rain and several closed areas due to wild fires. Can you say irony? Anyway, trapped in the rain with no where to go, we found the one empty lot in an otherwise full camp ground to pitch our tent and wait out the storm until the morning when we were denied a ride on the Beartooth Highway because of the fires.

Badlands National Park was a quick little treat for me. At that stage in the trip we had a deadline to get back home to Michigan, so the last few days were filled with Wall Drug signs and monkey butt. A little detour gave us an hour of cruising through the barren, empty, and unique area that South Dakota has to offer.

That’s just the cliff notes on the national parks I hit in a few weeks, but they were definitely some of the highlights of the trip. Now that all of these parks are closed, I am more thankful than ever that I got to see them when I did. The government being shut down right now gives me the opportunity to look past the corruption, greed, and self-centeredness to see the good of our national parks. Like they say, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.

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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.