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A view of Acadia National Park -- before the shutdown.

A view of Acadia National Park — before the shutdown.

I was lucky enough to be in Acadia National Park along the stunning Maine coastline a few days ago, which is luckier than anyone who tried to enter the park today (October 1 as I write this).

Because of the federal government shutdown, Acadia — along with all other national parks and monuments — are closed today, and will be until Congress agrees to fund the government again.

The day I was there was a perfect fall day in Acadia: blue skies, blue sea, rugged rock formations, hiking trails snaking up hillsides and down to beaches, popovers baking at Jordan’s Pond House.

The rounded top of 1,500-foot-high Cadillac Mountain — offering panoramas looking out over Penobscot Bay, Bar Harbor and the heavily forested Maine countryside — was teeming with visitors enjoying the views, snapping pictures, and clambering over the rocks.

It was exactly the way Acadia — or any of our wonderful national parks — should be: open to the public, well maintained, and inviting in its natural beauty.

People come from around the world to see and experience the sights and activities available in Acadia, Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and dozens of other world-famous parklands.

Today, when prospective visitors showed up at the gates or doors to Acadia and other national parks, monuments and the museums along with the mall in Washington, D.C., they were greeted by “closed” signs or someone — perhaps a volunteer, since federal employees have been furloughed until further notice — waving them away.

Closed.

Shuttered.

Shut Down.

Even park websites have gone blank, as if to say: don’t even bother planning a  trip here, because our Congressional “representatives” are apparently too hopeless to ever get them open again.

A national disgrace.

A view of Acadia National Park — after the shutdown:

 

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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