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.