Thursday, October 10, 2013

Amid Federal Government Shutdown, Many Options to Enjoy the Outdoors This Weekend


The Appalachian Mountain Club shares the concerns of many about the federal government’s shutdown and the impacts on the people, communities, and businesses that welcome recreationists and tourists at this time of year. But here in the Northeast we can also be grateful that many lands and trails remain open. It is still a great time to get outside, and we encourage everyone to enjoy what the region has to offer.
 
 

 
The mild days and cool nights of fall make for some of the best of hiking weather of the year. The trees, mountains, and sky pop with one last burst of color before we don our skis and snowshoes. As we head into a long-anticipated three-day weekend perfect for outdoor explorations, National Parks are closed and many of our members are scrambling to revise plans. Accurate information is difficult to find since staff who maintain federal web sites are furloughed.

 
The good news is that many places are open. AMC is posting what we know to be closed on our web site to help with trip planning. White Mountain National Forest trails are open. State parks and campgrounds, campgrounds on private land, AMC huts, Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, the Highland Center, and Cardigan Lodge and Campground are open. The Appalachian Trail is open on state lands, including backcountry shelters and campsites from Carlo Col north and on the Grafton Loop Trail in Maine’s Mahoosuc region.  From Maine to Pennsylvania and beyond, our region boasts wonderful state forests, parks, and game lands that continue to be open to the public.

 
Outdoor recreation is a major contributor to local economies, generating nearly $118 billion in consumer spending and nearly $9 billion in state and local tax revenue in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Even as the recreation community laments closures and the inconvenience of changing plans, we hope that you will get out, try a new campground, buy a meal, and purchase the gear and last-minute items you need for a fun weekend outdoors.  If you are looking for ideas, you might find some inspiration on the trip planning section of our website 
 


 AMC thanks our volunteer trip leaders who have revised trip plans, the federal employees who have helped to provide information about what’s open despite constraints, our AT trail stewards who have had to suspend trail work (they will need your help in the spring!), and our members who allow us to continue to provide information to the public. We look forward to Congress resolving the budget impasse so that all of us can again enjoy the full wealth of lands and trails available for public recreation.

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