Dear Senator Gardner —
I own a Boulder-based guided backpacking company, the lifeblood of which are commercial permits on public lands. Without them, I cannot legally operate in lands managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management.
Due to the current shutdown, my permits to run trips in 2019 in places like Rocky Mountain National Park, Yosemite National Park, Gates of the Arctic National Park, and Monongahela National Forest are not being reviewed (or approved), like they normally would be at this time of year.
If I do not obtain these permits soon and am unable to run trips, my family will suffer financially, reducing our income by about 50 percent. You can expect a proportional decrease in amounts collected from me by the Colorado Department of Revenue in 2019.
Business owners in gateway towns like Estes Park and Grand Lake will also suffer, losing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue that my clients would have spent on lodging, transportation, and food. There will also be a lot of disappointed clients — for many, my trips are one of the highlights of their year.
I know that legislating is a complicated task, and that you are one of one-hundred US senators. But I would ask you to strongly support efforts to re-open our government — specifically the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture — to eliminate this risk to my livelihood. This shutdown is no longer political brinkmanship — it will soon have very real consequences for me, like it’s already having for the hundreds of thousands of furloughed government employees.
I’m aware that you are up for re-election in 2020. You can be assured that your actions during this shutdown will affect my vote, contributions, and activism during that campaign.
Andrew Skurka (and my wife Amanda)