Many times — when I’m fed up with horrible traffic during the commute to work, when I’m utterly sick of living within the highly politicized suburbia that surrounds the DC region, when I’m feeling trapped by “civilization” — I seek solace in the vast, wide-open spaces of the American West. Like this one, which we saw as we drove through south-central Idaho last fall.
How I wish we were out there again right now…
I know. It looks like a quaint waterfall in an abandoned area.
But it’s not.
And — due to the severe and ever ongoing budget cuts — this is the sad state of maintenance and repairs that this park (just one of the 408 that the National Park Service is responsible for) is now enduring:
- Water is leaking around many of the locks (this undermines the lock foundation and will eventually cause it to fail and collapse).
- The lock structures are slowly rotting and falling apart.
- The greens around the locks are no longer being mowed and the weeds (and small trees for that matter) are not being removed.
- Trash service was abandoned years ago, but visitors still jam stuff into places where they don’t think it will be seen (that’s the bit of bright blue in the lower edge of the above photo).
- And for this visit, there were no staff at the main gate to collect entrance fees, nor did we see a National Park Service employee at any time during the afternoon we spent here.
Here are a few facts for those unfamiliar with the C&O Canal: Continue Reading →