Camping through the Shutdown

On a daily basis, the U.S. government’s “shutdown” has little impact on my life. Coincidentally, however, it has derailed our plans this weekend. #1, #2, and I had planned to camp at a local U.S. Forest Service campground. Like so many nonessential parts of the government, the U.S. Forest Service has suspended operations:

U.S. Forest Service webpage for Allegheny National Forest.

U.S. Forest Service webpage for Allegheny National Forest.

While inconvenienced, changing our plans is relatively easy. We can pick one of the many Pennsylvania State Parks.

Looking across a small lake in Hickory Run State Park—taken ca. 1:00 AM during a full moon.

Looking across a small lake in Hickory Run State Park—taken ca. 1:00 AM during a full moon.

But then I started thinking about not having the U.S. Forest Service campgrounds. Sure, I get it: national forests are nonessential, but my life has been enhanced inestimably by the many childhood days I spent camping, hiking, fishing, and backpacking in them. I’m not afraid, yet, that we’ll lose the forest lands, but closures and privatizing them seems suddenly more real than it did two weeks ago. However nonessential U.S. Forest Service lands and campgrounds seem today, they played an important role in my childhood and, I hope, will play a role in #1’s and #2’s.

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