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Tag Archives: National Geographic

Government Shut Down and our Parks

by: Olivia Eads

With the Government shut down, many of our favorite recreation areas are closed or lacking valuable resources for access. Websites are not being updated, restrooms are closed, trash is not being collected, and many people are taking full advantage of the lack of authority in these areas. Here are a few things to consider if you (like me) have planned an adventure this winter to one of our National Parks.

Where are you going to use the rest room?

Without proper facilities many people opt to just use the ground for their excrement; this is not a great idea depending on where you are going. In backcountry scenarios in some temperate climates you can simply dig a cat hole and burry your waste. In the desert, for example, that poses a large risk to the ecosystem because there is no water to recharge the soil and wash it away. In that case, you need to pack out your waste in what we like to call wag bags. If you are setting up a base camp somewhere, a bucket works nicely as well.

How to dispose of trash?

This is a no brainer. Even though waste is not being collected from the designated trash receptacles in these parks, you have the responsibility to pack out your own trash. Follow leave no trace principles. If you pack it in, pack it out. No one wants to be a litter bug. Instead of overloading a dumpster, carry it the extra mile to a town to dispose of.

Access to Resources being limited:

Websites are not updated with helpful information which is a huge bummer. This poses many risks to those adventuring in the areas for what weather to expect, hazards to be aware of, road closures, and general know abouts. Proceed with caution to these areas. Do your own research and get your best ideas on what to expect because it is no longer spelled out for you on their web page. Rangers are also very limited and not always available. You can try calling, but without a paycheck they are likely not to be on duty. This means that search and rescue is going to have a delayed response as well. Take two for safety (two seconds, two people, two moments etc.).

Have a backup plan       

Look at alternatives in the area if your number one destination is closed. I know it sucks to put in a lot of planning towards something only for it not to be achieved. Since June 2018 I have been planning a trip to Joshua Tree National Park for an epic climbing adventure leaving 1/10… The park conveniently closes that day until further notice. There are so many wonderful open and inviting natural spaces. Lucky for me, flying into Vegas, there are amazing natural wonders in every direction. Now to choose where to go that isn’t affected by the 2019 shut down. Different parks have different restrictions right now. Try doing a Google search to see what restrictions are in place where and to what extent. My back up plan: RED ROCKS!

 Don’t sweat the little things

Life is too short. There is no use in stressing over things you cannot control. I still have 15 days of vacation to find some epic climbing out west. The best way to plan is with some wiggle room for when things go wrong. Take a deep breath and we’ll all get through this together.


Every federal area will have different rules and regulations during a shutdown. These areas include National Parks, Forests, Monuments, or other government funded areas. Some are closed with potential for prosecution, some will have visitor centers, restrooms, and other amenities locked and closed, and others will have little or no staffing available. For more details please visit your park web page. For more information on how the parks have been effected and considerations you should take please consider the articles linked below.

National Geographic

National Parks Conservation Association



by: Brandon Behymer

Living in the Midwest has a way of instilling habits of more work and less play.  While this is great for saving money for reliable vehicles, mortgages, and retirement, it’s not an efficient way to relax or partake in the more colorful aspects of life.  For this I typically rely on daydreaming about the next trip, the next mountain, the next indulgence in discomfort.  Blogs, magazines, and podcasts are my preferred inspirational crutch when my imagination is having a slow day.

Some of my favorites:

  • Dirtbag Diaries– This podcast is sponsored by the outdoor clothing company, Patagonia. They do a wonderful job of representing a wide range of outdoor pursuits in their time managed episodes.  The stories shared come from all over the world and have an equitable number of male and female protagonists, which in the outdoor industry isn’t always the case.
  • Outside Podcast– A production of Outside Magazine, this podcast explores the outdoors from the point of view of professional athletes, weekend warriors, and everyone in between. Some of my most hairbrained ideas for getting out and active have come from the hours spent listening to this podcast.
  • Myths and Legends/Fictional- Jason Weiser does a phenomenal job of retelling both popular and obscure myths, legends, and now in his most recent podcast, classic literature, in a way that is entertaining and easy to understand. Whether driving cross country or putting some hours on the bike, this is a refreshing form of stimulation.  Honestly this may be my favorite podcast on this list.
  • How I Built This with Guy Raz– A podcast from NPR that shares the stories of entrepreneurs of many calibers and the businesses they created. I love listening and dreaming about one day owning my own company, making my own hours, and earning enough money to fund the shenanigans and travel that I would like to be doing now.

I do listen to several other podcasts and am sure to make additions to this list of favorites in the near future.  Now for the reading materials.

  • Adventure Journal– Though newer to the outdoor print publication scene this quarterly magazine packs a lot of adventure into a small package. Every article I’ve read seems to be timely and well researched.  These guys obviously have a huge passion for everything outdoors and promote the lifestyle as well as sustainable outdoor policies.  Well worth the read in my opinion.
  •– A fantastic source of inspiration as well as a plethora of information about bikepacking routes the world over. Some of the tracks are fairly obscure and others are quite popular.  The cool thing- they’re all well researched and tracked via gps. This means you can download the tracks and replicate the trip or use it as a reference to help you plan a trip of your own.  Along with the navigation help there are gear reviews and trip reports that stoke the imagination and, at least for me, tender some seriously hairbrained ideas for traveling by bike.
  • Outside Magazine– A monthly print that is in its 41st year of publication and has become the standard bearer for outdoor news and entertainment. Though it is chock full of advertisements the quality of journalism more than makes up for all the airbrushed photos of scantily clad pro athletes promoting chocolate milk or some $600 Down Jacket that will not only keep you warm and dry but also make you breakfast in the morning (breakfast ends promptly at 9am so be sure to rise early).  This magazine and its corresponding website also have great fitness and nutrition tips, gear reviews, and write ups on an endless amount of destinations sure to supply an adventure of some sort.
  • National Geographic– Can’t say enough about this publication and organization. Continuously is print since its first issue in 1888, it has explored all corners of the globe and written about them in astonishing detail. The photography of National Geographic is among the best in the world.  One of my favorite projects of theirs to read about and follow is Paul Salopek’s ‘Out of Eden’ walk (read about it here).  Starting in the Rift Valley in eastern Africa and ending in Tierra del Fuego, the walk will be approximately 21 thousand miles in length and is projected to take about seven years.

Again, this is an incomplete list, and many will be added in time.  I find inspiration in these audio, print, and online sources but my favorite source is from people I interact with where I live and where I travel. Friends and strangers alike, sharing their stories and pushing me to make more of my own is part of what makes the outdoor and travel community so special.  To put aside differences and enjoy seeking the next horizon is what its all about.