Contacting my Legislators about the National Park Shutdown

Fontana Lake from Shuckstack Tower

One of the first items of business when I returned to the US  was to contact my legislators. The message was to Open up the Parks! That’s what all the activists tell you to do. I passed on this message as well.

Not that easy.

I started with my Congressman, Rep. Patrick McHenry (Republican)

Our congressional district has been so gerrymandered that my zip code has been split in two. So on the contact form on his website, I had to have my 9-digit zip code. Uh, oh! So I went to the postal code website and put in my address and it gave me my 9-digit code.

McHenry’s form has a list of topics that you might be writing about but national parks was not one of them. Neither was the environment. That says a lot about my congressman’s priorities. The topics were mostly about needing help-social security, medicare, veteran’s benefits… He assumes that no one is going to leave a message unless it was about ME! But I left a message, asked for a reply but haven’t gotten one. Not even a automatic reply.

Next, Senator Richard Burr (Republican)

That was quick. Senator Burr has shut down all his state offices and his website during the government shutdown. But isn’t he getting paid to go to work and fix this mess? You can leave a voice mail but who is going to pay attention to that? There’s no way to leave an email message. You can put a letter in the mail but he can always blame the post office (which isn’t getting properly funded either).

I looked at Burr’s Facebook page but only his staff could start a topic, not a FB user.

Last, Senator Kay Hagan (Democrat)

I was able to fill out a form and leave a message on Hagan’s website. One of her topics was “Environment/Public Works” which was the closest to National Parks. I left a message about opening up the national parks and got an immediate automated response that the system received my message. Who knows if anyone on her staff will read my message and send me a “personal” message?

So it’s not that easy to contact your elected representatives and actually give them your opinion on legislative matters. Yes, you can always send them a letter. I used to advocate that until last year.

When my book The Mountains-to-Sea Trail Across North Carolina was published, I sent every one of my legislators (state and federal) a copy. I felt that it was necessary that they know about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. No one, not one legislator, replied and acknowledged that they had received it.

Have you contacted your legislators recently?

So here’s the message.

Open up the National Parks

End the sequester and fund the parks properly.



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