Ranger Kathryn's Arches

October 17, 2013

Open, open, open!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:32 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Ranger Victoria, Ranger Rob, Ranger Lauren -- Arches NP, 2010

Ranger Victoria, Ranger Rob, Ranger Lauren — Arches NP, 2010


A sixteen-day closure was excruciating, but in the last year America’s national parks welcomed more than 270 million regular people. They all came, and continue to come, for their own reasons — beauty, refreshment, to-do list, head-clearing, exercise, inspiration. If I could give only one message to Congress, it is this: These places are essential in the fabric of our lives.

To those putting on the green and gray today: brace yourselves for the most sincere, profuse, grateful expressions of joy and delight and relief that you’ve likely experienced in that uniform. My experience in the entrance station on the first day Canyonlands opened (under state funding) was almost surreal: nearly 100% of the cars that drove up were grinning, clapping, laughing, high-fiving me — ecstatic to be able to return to their parks. It was an unceasing stream of “I’m so happy to see you” and “Thrilled that you’re back at work.”

I’ve seen lots of smiles in this park — but this day was one solid grin, from beginning to end. And, to my peers working in entrance booths and visitor centers across America today, all I can say is: ENJOY IT. There’s nothing like ‘going without’ to remind us to be grateful.




  1. glad the parks are open and you are back to work…….. it never should have happened in the first place!!!!

    Comment by john — October 17, 2013 @ 8:35 am | Reply

    • I couldn’t agree more. The parks are indeed “collateral damage.”

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — October 17, 2013 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

  2. Absence makes the heart grow fonder…

    I couldn’t help wondering if, when you wrote “…270 million REGULAR people,” you had the members of congress in mind. You know, as something other than regular people. Anyway, glad you’re all back on the job. The world’s a better place today.

    Comment by Ron Carroll — October 17, 2013 @ 10:16 am | Reply

    • I did, Ron, I did! Thank you for noticing my subtlety.

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — October 17, 2013 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

  3. Teddy Roosevelt rolling over in his grave this month perhaps? So glad you’re all back to work, we’ll be greeting some of your comrades in the Smokies this weekend and I plan to do all I can to savor my National Parks experience!

    Comment by Pam Leonard — October 18, 2013 @ 9:46 am | Reply

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