Tourists and wedding hopefuls weren’t the only ones
disappointed by the closure of the National Parks and other public lands during
the partial government shutdown. As barricades and closure signs adorned the normally
welcoming entrances to parks and national forests, those in the outdoor
education industry were, in some cases, left without a classroom. Several NOLS
locations had to re-route courses at the last minute, quickly adapting and
finding new locations for several courses.
- A Semester
in the Northwest course had its hiking section moved from North Cascades
National Park to the adjacent Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest and was able
to run without further complications. Another Semester
in the Northwest course was scheduled to run their coastal hiking section
in Olympic National Park and instead they hiked on Nootka Island, off the west
coast of Vancouver Island.
- NOLS Southwest had a canoeing section scheduled
to run through Big Bend National Park in western Texas and had to relocate
upriver to Big Bend Ranch State Park. During the two days of logistics and
shuffling around the students were sent to a primitive skills camp just outside
of Tucson. The students ran the same part of the river twice, as entrance
downriver into the National Park was off-limits. A custom course
with NASA at NOLS Southwest was also postponed.
- At NOLS Rocky Mountain, a climbing course
scheduled for Devil’s Tower National Monument moved to Vedauwoo.
- NOLS Teton Valley was not affected, but if the
shutdown had taken place during the river running season, a course that runs
through the Salmon-Challis National Forest likely would have been re-routed.
Though public lands have re-opened, the shutdown will
continue to have rippling effects as commercial outfitters try to regain the
momentum they lost.