1,295 forum posts
this weekend, i decided that i was not going to let a political squabble interfere with my enjoyment of federal land that is practically in my backyard. so, i took my morning hikes anyway.
the park service was kind enough to barricade public parking lots (one was blocked with heavy blocks of concrete. and i forgot my bulldozer...) and use steel strapping to prevent access to portable toilets. Otherwise, though, not much evidence of a shutdown. private parking lots were open. No one was patrolling the trails to see whether people were actually using them. i parked off the shoulder of a roadway near an entry point - no NPS employees to ticket my car.
we have had 3-6 inches of rain the past week, and it was somwhere between cool/drizzly and raining hard most of the weekend. that always keeps the trails somewhat clear. aided by the closures, nearby trails were practically empty. Wildlife must have been advised of the closures, though, because the birds and animals that normally abandon traveled areas were active and more visible than normal. on my favorite local trail, i saw only one other person the entire length of the trail. unheard of. this trail would normally have been closed due to a few flooded portions, it's adjacent to the Potomac River. instead, i was left to bushwhack around the flooded spots. i did see a number of kayakers, which is common during stormy weather. the Potomac is already a big, fast-moving rivier in normal circumstances, but this much rain makes it huge and fun for kayakers who can handle it.
so....the trail was almost totally abandoned, almost all i could hear was birds and rushing water, a trail that would normally be closed and patrolled to keep people out was open.
i still hope the shutdown ends, but for a few hours, it was OK.