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For the first time ever I was forced to cancel a workshop today – the sold out Acadia Autumn Adventure. And the worst part is that it had completely nothing to do with anything I or my students did. It was caused by the government shutdown that started over a week ago and looks to continue for quite some time. Because all national parks are run and funded by the federal government, they are now without staff and are officially closed to public access.

All commercial activities in a national parks are required by law to have a permit – this includes photo workshops. To get a permit you also need liability insurance for you and your students. I always operate with a permit, but since the parks are closed, there are no permits, hence I have no insurance to conduct a workshop. So any thoughts of “sneaking in” were quickly forgotten.

I’m not going to get into any of the politics of this ridiculous situation we find our country in at the moment. But I do find it ironic that one of our national treasures, the national park system, which in essence is nature at its most pure and pristine, is closed. What a sad and artificial idea to contemplate.

While students are terribly disappointed, I’d like to think that no one is more disappointed than myself. I’ve planned for this workshop for months, and had great new locations to explore and photograph. I also want to do everything in my power to make up for this to the students who registered. I am incredibly grateful for the support.

In order to make up for this cancellation, I am offering this workshop twice next year, in the spring and fall. Current students are free to choose whichever they prefer. Or they can choose another workshop in a different location, regardless of the fee difference. In addition I will be extending special promotions to them which I will announce later this year.

Yes I know it wasn’t my fault, but students signed up for my workshop, not the governments. I don’t care whose fault it is, only that I provide the best possible outcome to this unfortunate “bump” in the road.

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Robert:

    So sorry to hear that. I was thinking about you with all of the mess in Washington. I know how great the workshop was for me, and cannot imagine the disappointment of the ones who were going. Just another thing to have to think about when planning where you are going.

    Let’s get this mess over with now!

    All the best,

    Bill Bogle, Jr.

    1. Hi Bill, yes a huge disappointment for sure. I don’t know that any amount of planning can help you avoid a government shutdown, just bad luck I suppose. I’m still heading to all the great parks I have planned for next year, with workshops and also personally. Lets hope this doesn’t happen again for another 30 years…if ever. thanks for the feedback!


  2. Sorry that you and your students had to go through this, Robert. It’s had an impact on me, of course (since I live and work near Washington, D.C.) but it’s a raw deal for all of you nonetheless. The way this has been handled makes me think of a scene from “V for Vendetta” when the High Chancellor Adam Sutler screeches into the camera, “I want this country to realize that we stand on the edge of oblivion. I want everyone to remember *why* they need us!”

    I hope all your students get to take advantage of your generous offer. Looking forward to another one myself!

  3. As one of the very disappointed students, I wanted to add that Robert has been amazing through this mess He gave it and us every opportunity to wait and see if we could make it work. Looking forward to a workshop next year.

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