At any body of water or river access area controlled by Federal authorities would-be anglers are finding that their pursuit of fishing is prevented by blockades and even those already in the midst of a well-planned vacation at the lake are being run-off by our own tax-paid authorities.
Lake Mead, Lake Powell, Truman Lake, even the offshore Channel Islands, any National Park and/or Corp of Engineers controlled fishing, camping, and outdoor recreational location across the country that is taxpayer funded and controlled by the Washington, Doesn’t Care bureaucracy is currently shut-down or access and facilities curtailed because of the stalemate. And, as usual where politicians are involved, the only ones feeling the hurt are far removed from those causing the pain.
In the last few days I have seen comments in social media and heard from anglers who have made it as far as having their boat launched and on the water only to be run-off the lake and told the ramp was closed. I even heard a story where smaller launch ramp barricades were being tossed into the ditch each evening only to be replaced the next afternoon by authorities, and eventually replaced by a much larger barricade. And, at least at this location, even the barricades were useless to stop persistent anglers, who were able to drive around them and launch anyway, without being ticketed or penalized (so far.)
A few days ago I was fishing near the Channel Islands, a National Park made up of several islands off the California coast and frequented by tour groups, hikers, campers, kayakers, divers, charter fishing boats and personal fishing vessels. Overheard via radio were Park employees discussing what they were able to shut down and how they would go about doing so, up to and including fishing NEAR the islands. The on-air debate ended with a No Fishing Allowed decision, but in reality there was no way to enforce it consistently since they could not cover such a large area.
Small businesses owners, who rely on anglers, campers and outdoor recreationalist to keep their business afloat, are losing their customers because of the shut-down. A bait and tackle store I spoke with, located on a Corp of Engineers lake, lost the majority of their customers because the local park campground, which is usually pretty full even at this time of year, was closed and all those already at the campground were force to leave.
So, anglers beware, if you are planning a trip to one of these locations in the near future you may be prevented from doing so by politics in Washington, Doesn’t Care.
I have my own political stance and it is firmly on one side of the aisle in most debates, but I have to say that ALL POLITICIANS in Washington, Doesn’t Care are to blame for this shut-down. Both sides have seen this coming for a long time and would not effectively address the issue until now. Both sides raised their collective pinstriped and pant-suited haunches and hunkered down behind well-stocked bars to toss blame across the massive four-foot gulf that separates them and in the end the only ones to get hurt are the anglers pursuing their passion, the fathers taking their sons fishing, the parents who want their kids to grow up appreciating the outdoors and all it has to offer, and the small businesses that provide the services that they need where so often the difference between surviving the year and closing down forever is a few weeks’ worth of business gained or lost.
No matter where you stand on the issues at hand, this is an unnecessary action that has been perpetrated on the public by beltway insiders who Don’t Care about anyone or anything but their own agendas. It is the final ploy of politics where each side believes that they have a slight majority of public opinion on their side and each side is willing to force the issue into the public forum to get the other side to back down instead of doing what they are being paid well for: conduct the business of operating the government in the best interests of the taxpayers who are paying the salaries and unearned but excessive benefits they receive.
This is what your tax dollars gets you from Washington, Doesn’t Care. This is what our system has come to; one that once had Statesmen who represented what was best for OUR country instead of politicians who only represent what is best for themselves and their party.
Big businesses get penalized to the tune of billions of dollars for hurting the tourism and income of local entities because of what in reality is an accident. Our elected officials should be personally fined for creating a situation where the public are denied the pursuit of happiness and businesses suffer at the hands of ineptitude. The real fact is that Doesn’t Care insiders won’t feel this at all unless the public reminds them at the polls. Historically, when a budget is hammered out those Don’t Care politicians, and the hordes who feed at the public trough, will be compensated for what they lost while furloughed, but the anglers who could not launch a boat at Lake Mead will not get their weekends back or permits extended for the time lost and the small businesses will not be compensated for lost revenue. In fact, one can make the argument that all the expense associated with shutting down, then reopening later, all these facilities, barricades, patrols and bureaucratic functionaries, will cost more than the pittance saved by shutting them down in the first place, especially since most of the ‘saved’ dollars will be paid out anyway after the budget is finalized.
Please remember who shut down your favorite fishing location the next time you vote because that is the only recourse and only means of making those that close down our taxpayer funded facilities pay for their collective incompetence and Don’t Care attitudes.
Just my opinion...