San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Government Employees Destroy Maui

I spent a week in Maui last month.  I would strongly discourage everyone from ever visiting Maui.  The place is a disaster. Why, you might ask?  Because the government employees who live and work there have destroyed it.  Let me explain.
Haleakala National Park is a part of the National Park Service of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika.  You may be aware that, like all government employees, the vile people who populate the NPS constantly complain about being overworked and underpaid.  Tired of merely complaining about their alleged injustices they have decided to take matters into their own hands.  Many national parks have drastically cut back on services, closing parts of their parks, closing campgrounds and cutting back on staffing.  This is all being done to anger the citizens of this country who visit the parks in the hope that they will then vote for career politicians who promise to raise taxes on "the rich" in order to give the overpaid park service employees more money.
I visited Haleakala NP while I was in Maui.  Perhaps you have been there.  The park consists of the giant (over 10,000 feet high) dormant volcano named Haleakala, or "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian.  A road runs all the way to the top of the mountain where a huge caldera presents itself.  Visitors are free to hike into the heart of the caldera and there are numerous trails of varying lengths that will satisfy even the most dedicated hiking enthusiast.  For the majority of the visitors, who are inclined to stay close to their cars, the opportunity to take the short walk of approximately 100 steps to the monument at the high point of the volcano is usually sufficient exercise.
We arrived at the Visitor Center at the entrance to the park in a cold, steady rain.  We had paid our $20 trespass fee to get in which the person at the entrance station cheerfully informed me was good for seven days.  I wondered....has anyone ever gone back to a national park for more than one day?  I believe they use the "seven day" chant to diffuse the anger that wells up in the hearts of visitors at being forced to pay $20 to enter a park that ostensibly belongs to them.  As I paid the trespass fee, credit cards only, no cash, I was informed that the lower visitor center was open only until noon and the upper visitor center was closed all day.  Why, I asked, were the visitor centers closed?  I was informed that they were "understaffed" and could not keep them open.
The lady at the entrance station who told me they were understaffed had two other rangers behind her in the booth.  They were drinking coffee and eating donuts while talking happily with each other.  Neither appeared to be doing any work.  I wondered......why did it take three people to operate an entrance station when the park was understaffed?  I assumed that I just did not know enough about national park management to understand.  We drove up the road a short distance and stopped at the lower visitor center.  A tour bus had just arrived and many tourists were rushing through the rain to get inside.  Inside I found a counter with three people behind it.  Two of them were eating donuts and drinking coffee while cheerfully talking to each other.  A third was manning the desk and grunting out monosyllabic answers to the various questions and requests being made the the tourists.  I could see that it was going to take me hours to get to the front of the line and then I would only be ignored.  I ran back to my car through the rain.  We drove to the top in a heavy rain.  Once to the summit we turned around and drove back down, vowing once again to never visit another national park.  Why six rangers were incapable of staffing two visitor centers and an entrance station was never explained.  Why only two of the six rangers in an understaffed national park were actually working was never understood by us.
A day or two later we headed out to visit the Iao Needle State Park.  This park is in the north island of Maui and has a jungle environment.  I had visited there on my previous trip to Maui and had a wonderful jungle hike into the heart of the volcanic crater that makes up the northern part of the island.  I was hoping to have the same experience with my wife on that day.  Little did I know what was soon to come.  As we drove up the road towards the park we encountered an electronic sign flashing the message that the road ahead was closed to all but local traffic.  It had rained hard the night before and I thought there might be some flooding issues so I parked the car and walked up to the sign to talk to the cop who was parked a hundred yards behind it.  That was when I committed my first crime that day.
As I approached the barricade the cop, who was sitting in his car eating donuts and drinking coffee, jumped out of his car and literally ran up the road yelling at me to stop and turn around.  He was using that abusive formal type of speech that is so characteristic of cops.  He kept addressing me as "sir" but the tone of his voice really meant he thought I was a disobedient criminal.  "Sir, you must stop and turn around now," he said excitedly.  I stopped but I did not turn around.  He was soon beside me and he reiterated his command that I get back on the other side of the barricade.  He emphasized the significance of my crime by saying, "Sir, you are in a very dangerous place, please get back behind the sign!"  Why or how that part of the road was very dangerous he did not say.
As we walked back up the road to the barricade I asked him why the road was closed.  He told me it was because it had been flooded.  I asked him if it would be open in the near future as we hoped to be able to visit the park.  At that point he sarcastically informed me that, "if you plan on being here for two years you will be able to visit the park then."  At that point I was so angry at having to suffer the verbal abuse of a gun-toting thug on the government payroll I just walked away, fuming all the way back to my car.  As it turned out I later discovered that a flood had occurred three weeks prior that had washed out major portions of the park.  Why he could not have simply told me that is impossible to know.
My two encounters with government employees in Maui was sufficient cause to make me vow to myself that I will never visit Maui again, even if someone else is generously paying for my visit.  Thank you very much but I can be abused by government employees in my own town without having to fly half way around the world for the same privilege.  If you believe in freedom and the principle that cops and government employees should treat you with the same degree of respect they command you to treat them then you will also boycott Maui. 

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