October 16, 2013

I Wonder if They Miss Us

The wild animals in our National Parks have had a couple of weeks free of tourists as the parks have been closed during the goverment "shutdown." I wonder if they miss the food that humans typically leave around. I recall from my camping days that bears and raccoons in particular are infamous for stealing any food they can figure out how to liberate from wherever it's stored.

Shenandoah National Park has bear-proof trash cans, but bears have been known to tear into tents or even open vehicle doors to obtain food. A ranger showed us a picnic cooler that was demolished by a bear. Casual visitors to the park don't always appreciate the determination and cunning of hungry wild animals..

On the day before the government shutdown, we visited Shenandoah National Park because I wanted to enjoy it before was closed for an unpredictable period of time. I observed park employees emptying trash containers and cleaning up around them. Looking back, I realize they were preparing for the possible shutdown by making sure garbage was not left around to attract bears. Often we fail to realize that an army of workers keeps our parks pristine-looking and as safe as possible. Shenandoah looks so natural that it's easy to forget the effort that goes into maintaining it. So I want to say "Thanks" to all the folks that work in our parks.

Finally, a few minutes ago, the U.S. Congress voted to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling. It's about time!


  1. Considering how inconsiderate and messy humans can be, I'd say keeping the parks cleaned up is a full time job!

  2. I'm sure it is a lot of work to keep the parks maintained. I appreciate what they do too.

    I'm glad they are finally going to end the shutdown (for now). I hope they can get things figured out so that it doesn't happen again.

  3. we really don't realize how many folks (and even animals) were affected by this shut-down. :)

  4. About time indeed! Park workers are under-appreciated and this is a great post...like the animal images too!

  5. It absolutely takes a lot of work to keep things looking "natural". Natural areas have to be managed in all kinds of ways. As to the animals, they probably miss the people who ignore the rules about not feeding animals.


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