The ongoing government shutdown cancelled the 2014 Wild Trout Symposium planned this week for Yellowstone National Park. On the surface, this may not seem significant, but given that the symposium is only conducted once every three years and offers experts in the field coldwater fisheries conservation to come together and talk about the latest science and conservation techniques, the cancellation is truly unfortunate.
Thankfully, according Amy Wolfe, who does abandoned mine restoration work in the East for TU, organizers are rescheduling the event for next year, which will mark the symposium's 40th year (it was first conducted in 1974).
For Wolfe and many other participants in the symposium, it was too late to cancel their travel plans--they were already in the park and staying at Old Faithful Lodge.
"Staying in the park was quite the experience," Wolfe said. "All pull-offs, side roads, parking lots for geyser basins and other attractions, and even the viewing area for Old Faithful geyser were barricaded. Visitors were quickly reprimanded by rangers if they were caught driving around the park, stopping along the road to look for animals, walking around the geyser area boardwalks, or doing anything that constituted as 'recreation.' We were told to stay in the lodges until we could find other lodging outside the park and leave."
Otherwise, Wolfe said, the remainder of the 150 participants in the symposium never had the chance to even enter the park--all entrances were barricaded and everyone was denied access.