... and where we heap effusive praise upon the government... in a manner of speaking...
Heavy thunder showers across central and southern Utah and the four corners region, including a couple of tornado touchdowns in northern Arizona, is threatening our road trip but there is some collateral benefit to this inclement weather which we will share later.
One of the things promised by Porkulus was that they would spend between $2 and $4 billion on infrastructure upgrades in our National Park system of which we were assured was in dire need (this was in addition to radio spots begging for donations to the NPS for the same reason). Being frequent visitors to various sites of this nation's best idea, we were skeptical as the eye test simply did not warrant this outlay. Sure, an upgrade here and there, but upwards of $4 billion worth?
After giving it some thought, we felt that perhaps the easiest and most accurate way to assess the infrastructural health of an individual national park would be to grade what is probably the most representative feature of the efficiency and aesthetics of any publicly-held land and that would be...
.... the block house.
After a random sampling of 4 outhouses inside Canyonlands National Park, let's look at the scores.
Lighting: With plenty of windows for natural lighting, even with the stormy/overcast conditions: Good
Cleanliness: Probably the most important factor: Excellent
Provisioning: Eight rolls of TP good enough for you?: Again, Excellent.
And bonus points for each one being outfitted with an anti-bacterial (scented!) gel dispenser.
And let's all bear in mind that Canyonlands NP, located where it is in southeastern Utah is, by definition, remote.
In all seriousness, if the overall condition of the park infrastructure (visitor center, road conditions, camp site maintenance, condition of hiking trails, etc.) of Canyonlands NP is to be taken as an example, then our skepticism is only confirmed.
And if the National Park Service is truly operating under budget, then they should be held up as an example of a federal agency that is doing a masterful job with limited resources.
Overall, the Park Service does an outstanding job with balancing the desires of the public with respect to access on one hand and on the other, not turning our park system into a paved, four-lane, amusement park.
A Bravo-Zulu to the policy-makers and men and women in uniform of the U.S. National Park Service.
Oh, and those collateral benefits to crappy weather? This is what we were treated to traveling west on I-70 and which set north of the highway after a squall blew threw.
Needless to say, this picture does not do justice to this God-send.