It May Be Over, But the Federal Government Shutdown Could Affect You

Originally posted on NRPA’s Open Space blog on October 16, 2013.

deal may be struck and the shutdown may nearly be over (or at least temporarily held off until early 2014), but after the federal government shut down more than two weeks ago, one of the loudest frustrations from the public was the closing of our national parks. The average American might not feel the immediate sting of many government offices closing down, but with an October average of 715,000 visitors per day to the 401 National Park Service (NPS) sites, it’s no surprise that the loss of access to these public lands caused a major uproar. According to the Department of the Interior’s contingency plan published on September 26, 21,379 of the current 24,645 NPS employees were expected to be furloughed in the event of a shutdown.

Fortunately for park professionals like you as well as the public, state and local parks aren’t under the financial umbrella of the federal shutdown. However, this event still has the potential to affect you, as past federal shutdowns have caused some state agencies to step in to keep services coming.  In fact, just this week a few states stepped in to temporarily open some of the national parks, footing the bill themselves, as detailed in this Associated Press news story.  In addition, past shutdowns on the state and local levels have forced furloughs of thousands of park employees as well.

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Categories: Parks | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Adding a new New Year’s resolution

A look at post #1 from my cross-country road trip.

A look at post #1 from my cross-country road trip.

Last night, while looking at the Facebook history between me and a good friend, I noticed a couple of comments we messaged to each other a few years back that referred to some posts on my old blog. I launched it in 2003 when such things were set up as online journals used by individuals for free expression, not as the structured social media business outlets that we have today, and for several years, I updated it regularly. Since my last post on there in 2009, however, life has kept me pretty busy with working and all, and I’ve totally fallen out of the habit. I started that blog as a simple outlet where I could write out whatever was on my mind, and I kept it for years primarily for my own benefit. In looking at it last night, though, it really hit me how I don’t write like I used to anymore. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Outdoor Recreation, Personal, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Adventure is for everyone, no excuses

Adventure sports such as kayaking aren’t limited just to able-bodied athletic types. With proper training, preparation and facilities, wheelchair-bound explorers can enjoy its freedoms as well.

Every Saturday, I get a couple of Google Alerts that keep me in the know about the latest in the worlds of outdoor recreation, adventure travel and more (I’m a nerd, I know). A lot of what comes through is just local event information from all around the country that happens to include my targeted keywords, but there are always a few interesting tidbits. This week’s emails led me to an article about a few new handicap-accessible canoe and kayak launch facilities in and around some city parks in Midland, Michigan.

This is pretty cool stuff. A local community group spearheaded the effort, and the new access points highlight their push to make a wider range of recreation opportunities available to everyone. Although there are some obvious limitations inherent in different disabilities, a partial handicap doesn’t have to mean a person can’t take advantage of an activity that doesn’t require full mobility, and it’s great to see a community taking strides to make its facilities universally available. Continue reading

Categories: Adventure, Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , | 14 Comments

Fun day at the office

Laura's (recreated) Little House on the Prairie

Laura’s (recreated) Little House on the Prairie. Image courtesy of Krista Kennedy.

Last week, I posted the following message on Facebook:

Just got into a grammar fight at work. It lasted about 20 minutes. I am so cool.

A number of people responded, curious about the details, and I responded by adding that the “argument” also involved multiple books and websites. Then, to let people decide for themselves who won, I followed up with this:

The article was a short interest piece about the log cabins of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood. Here’s my sentence: “Upon reaching Kansas, Pa and a neighbor built a new log home on the prairie, and Laura describes its construction in great detail.” My editor changed it to “Upon reaching Kansas, Pa and a neighbor built a new log home on the prairie, whose construction Laura describes in great detail.” Continue reading

Categories: Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

12 Must-Have Apps for Outdoor Junkies

Mophie Outdoor App Image

Courtesy of kyleroderick.com

I recently bought an iPhone, and like most new smartphone users, I quickly found myself sucked into the wide world of apps. With options available to help you do everything from checking your bank balance to tracking your bowel movements (yes, I’m serious), there are literally thousands of apps out there that can help you accomplish almost anything you can, or can’t, imagine.

Fortunately for the outdoor enthusiast, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of apps that cater to your specific interests and needs while you’re out exploring the wilderness you love. It might seem a little counterproductive to bring along a device that connects you with the rest of the world while you’re trying to get away from it, but take a look at the below list to see a few apps that might make your outdoor excursions a little more safe and enjoyable. Continue reading

Categories: Outdoor Recreation | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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