Barring any sudden breakthroughs, this coming Monday will be 22 days of government shutdown.
That woud make it the longest in American history, and it's already taking a toll on our beloved National Parks. On Wednesday, Joshua Tree nearly closed its "doors" to visitors; in just the past couple weeks, unmonitored activity in the park has gotten out of control. Motorists have blazed new roads, visitors have destroyed trees and overflowed public bathrooms ... this is the real national emergency. While Joshua Tree in particular faces threats due to its big brand and ecosystem, the same pernicious song and dance is playing out around the country.
Which brings us to state parks. You know 'em, you've driven right by 'em. But as our National Parks take some time to mend, and you ache with cabin fever, consider spending a weekend visiting one of the country's 10K+ state-run wilderness areas. Thanks to our well-traveled friends over at Atlas Obscura, you can even narrow your search down to a selection of our nation's purple-mountain-best.
Atlas Obscura mapped 70 state parks here, ranging from the green cliffs of 'Akaka Falls in Hawaii to an old favorite New Hampshire basin of Thoreau, to abandoned military bunkers in Washington State. It's outside, it's history and it's well worth the trip, if only for a respite from the news coming out of Washington.
Head here for more information.
Main image from Wikimedia Commons // Kodachrome Basin Spires