As most people are well aware at this point, the vast majority of the parks within the national park system are closed due to the government shutdown. A few states have worked with the government and they have decided to reopened a few parks with state funds. It’s important to note that just because a state has decided to reopen some parks within their state, that doesn’t mean that all of the national parks sites within their state are open. The number of sites open is still only a small percentage of the 401 sites that make up the national park system. Below is the current list of sites that are currently open, along with the dates that they are scheduled to remain open:
Grand Canyon National Park (currently scheduled to be open from October 12 to 18)
Rocky Mountain National Park (currently scheduled to be open from October 11 to 20)
Statue of Liberty National Monument (currently scheduled to be open from October 12 to 18)
North Carolina / Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (currently scheduled to be open from October 16 to 20)
Mount Rushmore National Memorial (currently scheduled to be open from October 14 to 23)
All Utah parks are currently scheduled to be open from October 11 – 20
Arches National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Canyonlands National Park
Capitol Reef National Park
Cedar Breaks National Monument
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Natural Bridges National Monument
Zion National Park
I absolutely love it when I stumble upon the unexpected when viewing a national park. One of the hidden treasures at Capitol Reef National Park is the Goosenecks overlook. It really is a different view than most of Capitol Reef, and it’s a bit off the beaten path so that many people may miss this beautiful natural wonder (it’s at the end of a 1 mile dirt road that begins at Panorama Point). For those that travel through Capitol Reef, don’t let the dirt road discourage you from making the drive. As a reward, you will be greeted with views like this:
The information sign at Goosenecks gives the following description:
When Sulphur Creek was young, this scene was a low plain.
The stream looped leisurely across gently sloping land, overflowing and changing direction with each flood. Imperceptibly, the Waterpocket Fold began its slow, upward warp.
Trapped in its channel, unable to detour, the water ran steeper, and sliced a deepening trench through layers od soft rock. Where loops almost meet, “Goosenecks” form — the stream’s last course, incised in stone. Now the creek flows 800 feet below the rim.
One of the things that distresses me when visiting the National Parks is that is seems that more and more people find it necessary to leave their name inside the National Parks. I’m not sure why people feel the need to deface these natural wonders — what is it that makes people think that it’s a good idea to spray paint or carve their name into the rocks at National Parks? It saddens me to no end that signs like this actually need to be posted these days in National Parks (this one was found at Capitol Reef National Park):
I remember hiking in Arches National Park well away from the most visited places and running into a ranger that was cleaning up marks that people had left on some of the remote arches. He said it was a constant battle because if people see that one person has done it, they feel it’s OK for them to do it as well. Sharpie markers, along with gum, were the bane of his existence.
If you ever see park rangers out and about cleaning the natural wonders that we visit, be sure to thank them — and don’t be shy in discouraging anyone from marking natural wonders in the National Parks…
When you enter Capitol Reef National Park from the east on highway 24, one of the first landmarks you come across is Behunin Cabin. Although the structure may not look all that impressive in its grandeur, I found it extremely impressive for where it was and how well it was built.
The information sign by the cabin give a peek into how life was in the area when the Capitol Reef area was first settled:
In 1882 Elija Cutler Behunin and his family built this cabin, and stayed a brief time until the rising river washed out their crops. Behunin was one of the first settlers in this area.
A family of ten lived here. Braided rugs covered the dirt floor. Ends of dress materials became curtains. There was a fireplace to cook in, and a water supply near the door. The family probably ate outside.
Father, mother, and the two smallest children slept in the cabin. The post bed almost filled one side of the room. By widening a dugout in the cliff, the older boys had a place to sleep. The girls made a den in an old wagon box.
It’s well worth the 10 minutes it takes to stop and look around (and you will instantly have a new appreciation for all the modern conveniences we have today)