Ranger Kathryn's Arches

October 4, 2013

The park is eerily quiet

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 11:31 am
Tags: , , , , , ,
Would you like to be greeted by this sight as you enter a national park?

Would you like to be greeted by this sight as you enter a national park? It’s what the entrance to Canyonlands looks like.

Birds, cottontails, lizards — the regular cast of characters inhabits Canyonlands National Park this morning. What is missing, however, are human sounds. Normally I hear the distant hum of traffic entering before sunrise to catch the famous photo at Mesa Arch, but today… nothing. No tires on our pavement, no feet on our trails. Absolutely silent.

“That’s the way a wilderness park should be,” some may say. NO. These national treasures, these places of wonder, belong to the American people and this particular one has welcomed people for 49 years. Keeping travelers out of them is morally wrong. We’re punishing innocent people over political ideologies.

We park rangers don't know what to do with ourselves during a shutdown. We're not even allowed to hike in our own park.

We park rangers don’t know what to do with ourselves during a shutdown. We’re not even allowed to hike in our own park.

It’s not about my unpaid furlough; that may sting, but I’ll manage. Visitors have planned for months, have come from around the country and around the world to see our national parks, and they encounter barricades, gates, locked visitor centers. This land is called “public” for a reason, and refusing access is senseless.

Tuesday at 8 a.m. sharp, seven staff members gathered to close down the park. It was a somber morning of changing the message on our phones, filling out our payroll online, notifying campground occupants that they would need to leave, laminating and putting up sad signs, cleaning out the refrigerator, emptying all safes, making final deposits.

C’mon, Congress. Lay down your differences. There is no excuse for this.


  1. and to top if off, all those S.O.B.s are still drawing a paycheck!!!! Really?????

    Comment by john — October 4, 2013 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  2. They all, members of both parties, need a time out until they can get along and work together instead of engaging in bickering and finger-pointing. They need to remember that they work for the American public, not their respective parties.

    Comment by Chris Youngman — October 4, 2013 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

  3. Amen!

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — October 4, 2013 @ 2:02 pm | Reply

  4. 2nd that Amen!

    Comment by NC — October 4, 2013 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with you. We are about to go to several Eastern parks and we are likely to be shut out of them. We have paid our taxes and we should not be locked out like this.

    Comment by Roxie — October 4, 2013 @ 5:11 pm | Reply

  6. tell them Kathryn. Praying for a swift kick in the pants to both sides of the aisle in D.C.

    Comment by Kate Kresse — October 4, 2013 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  7. Even I (living in Germany) totally agree with you Kathryn in that ‘they’ are punishing innocent people over political ideologies. Stop this nonsense and start working together, there in Washington.

    >We’re not even allowed to hike in our own park.
    Why not, just go hike there, because there is no Ranger around to kick you out 🙂

    All the best, I hope you’re back at your beloved place real soon !

    Comment by Klaas Wijchman — October 5, 2013 @ 6:41 am | Reply

  8. Pole sana kabisa! So sad. Angry, really.
    Time to vote “them” all out and start with a clean slate.

    Comment by Joann — October 5, 2013 @ 7:44 am | Reply

  9. I suppose you could say that we were lucky – we were at Canyonlands and Arches just last week. And we’d also just visited Yellowstone, Grand Teton NP, Zion and Bryce. Not to mention a bunch of National Monuments. In fact we were at Colorado NM the day before everything closed. My wife and I had a long conversation with a young park ranger there. To say that she was upset is a bit of an understatement. Still, she was very professional, courteous, and pleasant. As are all of the rangers (at least the ones I’ve talked to).

    So my point, I guess, is that you’re absolutely right. It borders on criminality to shut these places down. They belong to all Americans. Some of whom we met on the road as we headed back east. They were on their way west to visit the parks that we’d just left. But now that wasn’t possible. So what should they do? Keep going or head back home? And what about all the people coming from Europe or Asia? Anyone who regularly visits the parks knows that they make up a significant percentage of total visitors. What should they do? And if all those visitors don’t (or can’t) come, what about all the businesses in places like Moab or Springdale? How will this affect them if this drags on and on?

    The sign in your picture literally makes me feel ill. We just drove down that very road. And now people can’t? That’s completely inexcusable. And more than just a little unbelievable.

    Comment by Paul Maxim — October 6, 2013 @ 7:25 am | Reply

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