A Colorado Rebel’s Take on the Government Shutdown
This weekend we planned on visiting many beautiful sites including the Maroon Bells (right outside of Aspen, CO). Unfortunately, with the government shutdown, we were forced to do things a bit differently. We arrived in town and took the exit leading to the infamous Maroon Bells, a spectacular mountain range showing off an exposed bit of maroon granite. It is one of the most photographed places in the US. As we drove down the road we noticed many people parking on the sides and walking. Not sure what was going on, we kept driving. It got to the point we were dodging people, bikes, and kids in strollers! Eventually we made it to the “end” and noticed a barricade saying “ROAD CLOSED.” We must have passed at least 100 cars and the place was swarming with people walking right around those barricades. We of course did the same, parked the Jeep and started walking! Everyone was having a great time regardless of the area being “closed.” Most were taking the 5 mile walk to Maroon Lake, not affected at all by the closure. This is America, people! This is our land!*
That wasn’t the only issue we ran into. Our next stop was the Grottos/Ice Caves on the east side of Aspen, A gorgeous cavern of rock and granite where you can explore and just hang out. On the drive we noticed several USDA campsites closed. We arrived to see the bathroom doors locked and signs posted everywhere saying it was closed. Of course there were about 8 cars there still getting out and exploring.
→ View our collection of Aspen Hotels.
On the drive home going through the gorgeous Independence Pass, more bathrooms were locked. Looked like someone took matters in their own hands and broke one of the locks off! Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go! We made one last stop before making our way back, an old ghost town called Independence. What a cool stop, but it is regulated by the US Forest Service and was “closed” as well! That didn’t stop us or the 15 other cars parked to go exploring.
Overall we were a bit limited to what we could do. Of all things to close, why our land? Teddy Roosevelt stated:
Conservation means development as much as it does protection. I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us… Moreover, I believe that the natural resources must be used for the benefit of all our people, and not monopolized for the benefit of the few… Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us, and training them into a better race to inhabit the land and pass it on. Conservation is a great moral issue, for it involves the patriotic duty of insuring the safety and continuance of the nation.
Let’s hope this government shutdown ends soon, so we can get back to enjoying these beautiful national treasures!
by Lauren Marinos
*FROSCH does not condone or advise trespassing in any form.