The man who runs the federal campgrounds said he has about 1,000 campsites and an average of five campers was expected per site. Not only will the closure cost him an estimated $50,000 but it will have a significant impact on area businesses that depend on the campers.
I should point out that the White Mountain National Forest will lose revenue as the campground operator pays the government a certain percentage of the revenue earned on federal lands.
No federal money is spent to run the sites as the operator does all the maintenance, upkeep, and staffing.
My brother Rick was fishing for stripers off Cape Cod the first week of the shutdown. He found the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham closed as was the Cape Cod National Seashore. Trying to keep anglers off the beach makes as much sense as keeping them out of the Conte NWR in Vermont.
In another example of the stupidity shown by the feds, the privately-owned Nauset Knoll Motor Lodge overlooking Nauset Beach in Orleans was forced to close as it is within the Cape Cod National Seashore. It was fully booked through October. Like the 22 private campgrounds in the White Mountain National Forest, it received no services from the government nor did it want any.
Meanwhile the Appalachian Mountain Club's Mohican Outdoor Center is closed as it is within the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. The White Mountain National Forest backcountry campsites are closed as are the Hermit Lake Shelters.
White Mountain National Forest trails are open as of the time I am writing this. However, the Appalachian Trail is closed for 700 miles where it passes through national parks such as the Delaware Water Gap.
Areas that depend on tourism are losing huge amounts of money as are many small businesses. In the case of the campgrounds and motel, the federal government is losing money that would come from the lease holders who require nothing from the feds other than the use of the small amount of land on which they operate.
As I write this Monday morning, it is day 14 of the shutdown and a quick end doesn't seem to be in the cards. Negotiations apparently broke down over the weekend.
This is a time when we need statesmen, not politicians whose only interest is re-election and protecting the perks they enjoy and which we pay for. Our Congress and our President should be ashamed of what has transpired. I know I am.
Bits and Pieces
Legendary deer hunter Larry Benoit died at age 89 last week and the news spread quickly through the hunting community.
Larry bagged more trophy bucks than any person I know. Luck played a very small part in his success which could be attributed to hard work and a great deal of skill and perseverance. He tracked his bucks, sometimes for days. He could read a track and other sign like no other with the possible exception of his sons to whom he passed on his passion and his knowledge.
Larry's fame as a hunter spread far beyond Vermont and Maine where he took many of his big bucks. Mention whitetail deer hunting anywhere in North America and the name Larry Benoit is likely to come up.
Many have tried to emulate Larry right down to wearing the green and black plaid wool coat, to carrying Remington pump rifles, but few have come close to accomplishing what he has.
Renowned scientist and UVM professor emeritus Hub Vogelmann has died. Hub was a dedicated conservationist who helped found the Vermont Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. His research on acid rain on Camels Hump gained him national attention.
It was from Hub I first heard the term acid rain and from his research and writing that I learned what it was doing to our high altitude forests and to mountain trout ponds.
New Hampshire's moose hunting season is Oct. 19-27. A total of 275 permit holders were drawn in this year's lottery, randomly selected by computer from a pool of more than 13,000 applicants. In addition, five hunters will have the chance to hunt moose because they were the highest bidders in an annual auction that benefits the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire, and two permits were granted to youths with serious medical conditions through the Hunt of a Lifetime program.
Northern New England snowmobilers should be interested in a public hearing regarding the 2014 Snowmobile Reciprocity Weekend Rules. The hearing is set for Monday, Oct. 21, at 6 p.m. at the N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord.
The Fish and Game Department is proposing to amend the laws relative to the snowmobile weekend that allow reciprocity for Vermont and Maine registrations, to use specific calendar dates of Jan. 31 through Feb. 2, 2014, instead of using the description of "the fourth full weekend in January."
"We're making this date change in the reciprocal weekend in an effort to select the most convenient weekend for all three states," said Capt. John Wimsatt. "Other than that, these are minor changes to refine the rules for an annual event that has become quite popular since it began a few years ago."
The Vt. Fish & Wildlife Department says it will be mailing out Vermont antlerless hunting permits for the December muzzleloader season late in October. The department also says it has some permits available in southwestern Vermont that can be purchased on a first-come-first serve basis.
"Hunters who drew an antlerless permit in the lottery drawing posted on our website are wondering when they will receive their permits," said Fish & Wildlife's Director of Wildlife, Mark Scott. "We plan on mailing those permits, which are on orange post cards, late in October."
Friday was warm and sunny, just right for a hike. Don Kollisch and I arranged to meet in Orford for a hike of the Mt. Cube section of the Cross-Rivendell Trail. We chose Mt. Cube as it is close and easily done in under four hours. The summit is a bit under 3,000 feet but it offers wonderful unimpeded views in all directions, especially on a clear day like Friday.
Syndicated columnist Gary W. Moore may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.