- Posted October 16, 2013 by
Los Angeles, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Shutdown over: What next?
The Country I Found When The Government Shut Down
So I decided to do something about it. I created a Facebook page listing alternatives to the most popular parks and monuments run by the government. I asked for input and made an open offer to help people rearrange their vacations. I started with the West and quickly found a load of amazing State Parks in Utah and iconic scenery like Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley on Navajo land in Arizona. The more I researched, the more amazing places I found. I expanded my search to include alternatives to Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, the museums of Washington, D.C. and the historic sites of the East Coast. I begged family and friends across the country for tips, called retailers and historical societies; anyone I could think of who might know of a hidden gem.
I was astounded by the variety of natural and historic resources in this country that are run privately, tribally, or by the states. Most of all, I was touched by the willingness of people to help me. Everyone I spoke to was sympathetic and supportive. I heard many stories of retailers handing out waste disposal supplies for free at local trailheads that were suddenly overrun with hikers, or locals dropping everything to help foreigners find accommodations, or climbers taking extra trash bags into the National Forests to help keep them clean.
The shutdown has had a devastating impact on many in this country whether tourists or businesses or federal employees. It is easy to feel angry as Congress drags its feet and embarrassed at the image of our country in the foreign press. But for me, finding a way to do something positive, no matter how small, relieved much of the tension and opened up a new perspective of this big, beautiful country. I recommend it to anyone.
If you would like to see the remarkable places I found, feel free to look up the Facebook page, The Shutdown Vacation Saver, or see the full list by state at http://heatherswildandwonderful.wordpress.com