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letters | weary of Washington

Tourists, firms chafe as national park vacations are squeezed

During the government shutdown, a ranger met visitors at the closed entrance to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.

Dean J. Koepfler/The News Tribune via Associated Press

During the government shutdown, a ranger met visitors at the closed entrance to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state.

I have just spent a glorious weekend at Acadia National Park. Our reservation at Blackwoods Campground was null and void, of course. As it turned out, it was quite easy to find a reservation on an otherwise busy holiday weekend because Congress has scared away all the tourists. Businesses have been hit hard on the last few big weeks of the season, and were clearly unhappy about it.

The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce cheerfully guided us through the land mines of navigating the park without any information from the government — even the park website was shut down — and the national park employees who were considered essential did the work of many, gracefully handling the thousands of visitors who came to the park anyway.

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The international travelers were most perplexed, and it was embarrassing to try to explain to them the messy adolescent posturing in Washington. Should members of Congress decide to shut down jobs that are not essential to the safety and well-being of American citizens and visitors to our country, may I suggest that their jobs go first?

Lynne Maloney

Scituate

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