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02 October 2013 @ 06:53 pm
Government Shutdown, Second Day  
Today was super busy at the museum. A bus group of seventy-five people from a mental health facility in Provo came to visit Anasazi after scrambling to find alternatives to their original plan to visit Bryce Canyon. Between them and a second bus group, it was quite bustling. Throw in the chaos from our usual traffic and a strong, steady stream of national park refugees, and we often found ourselves scrambling. Instead of hiding out in the back room to do inventory, as I usually do, I stayed behind the front desk.

There was little good news to report. Federally-owned campsites are still closed, and the alternatives (state, privately owned, and suchlike) filled up quickly yesterday. When my boss got to work this morning, she actually found a couple of cars that had (illegally) parked in our parking lot overnight when the exhausted drivers finally gave up searching for a place to stay. Usually, we would have a locked gate to prevent this, but we are currently building a new fence so the gates are currently inoperable. She just shrugged it off, because she felt sorry for them – as do we all.

But we did find some small improvements from yesterday. A few roads that had initially been reported as closed were open this morning, allowing visitors to get to more hiking areas. The daytime weather has been clear and warm, although the nights are cold. Thank goodness this isn't happening during torrential downpours like we experienced last month! A local campground called Posey Lake was relatively empty last night – but cold, oh so cold – so hopefully a few more people will be able to find a place to sleep tonight. Business is brisk at the state parks – again, I do feel sorry for the many people who came to the area to visit the national parks and are now frantically trying to rearrange their vacations (especially the ones from overseas), but the increased traffic to the state parks hopefully means Utah won't have to consider shuttering any of the parks next year.

I'm curious how the traffic has been impacting the other state parks that aren't as close to the national parks as we are. I've been trying to encourage people to head two hours north to Fremont Indian State Park, which has campgrounds and petroglyphs – but many folks don't way to stray too far from their itinerary in case Congress reaches a settlement and the parks reopen. We've also been directing people to Goblin Valley and Dead Horse Point as an alternative to Canyonlands or Arches, and Escalante Petrified Forest and Kodachrome instead of Bryce and Zion.



In more personal news, I found out that I am out of the running for the curator position at Fremont Indian State Park. As I feared, my lack of archeological training (only a minor instead of a degree, and no field school) proved to be a hurdle I couldn't avoid. In a way, it's a relief – I wasn't super-excited about moving to Richfield. My heart really just wants to head back home to the comfort of California at the end of the month, and now I can do so knowing that I tried my best to further my career while out here in Utah.