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October 10. 2013 9:31PM

Visit the Whites: They're open despite shutdown

The White Mountain National Forest is not closed this weekend. It is so large that the Obama administration could not ring it with barriers. So do not be scared out of a visit to the mountains because you heard that national parks and forests were shut down. You can hike and even camp in the White Mountains this weekend — as long as you are prepared to relieve yourself without any modern conveniences.

The administration could not close off the entire White Mountains, but it has closed the restrooms. It says the reason is that no staffers are available to clean them. But the toilets are pit toilets. Your government at work.

If you would like to make a statement in protest of the shutdown, or of the administration’s scheme to inconvenience as many Americans as possible during it, there are ways to engage in some constructive civil disobedience. Go to the White Mountains this weekend. Eat out, go shopping, spend a little money. The administration has ordered 22 private campgrounds inside the White Mountain National Forest closed. You will not be able to help those businesses in the next few days, but you can limit the financial damage their forced closure will cause in the communities surrounding the forest.

You also could enjoy the forest’s hiking trails, which will be spectacular this weekend, but we would advise against any tenderfeet venturing too far from trail heads. With more than 90 percent of the local Forest Service personnel furloughed and thus unavailable for rescues, inexperienced flatlanders should be extra cautious. (Anyone going for an extended outing should be fully prepared for foul weather and have a companion trained in basic first aid.)

Enjoy New Hampshire this weekend. Don’t be discouraged from visiting the Whites. They are your mountains, not Obama’s.


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