Gov’t shutdown alters Hiking Retreat

by Dominic Gideon ‘14

On October 1st the US government, embroiled in partisan tension over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), shut down, suspending many national services and programs. This shutdown has affected countless people around the country, including many Ignatius parents and alumni.    It’s now affecting the school itself, keeping the Senior Hiking Retreat– set for today– from going on its usual trail through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The retreat will not be able to be in the park because the paychecks of park rangers from national parks all around the county have been suspended as a result of Congress’s stalemate. Other officers have been assigned to fine anybody who is found in the parks without the rangers present.

Both the government and many citizens are feeling the effects of national park shutdowns. According to USA today, the government is losing about $450,000 in visitor fees per day because of the temporary park closure and local economies have missed out on roughly $76,000. And while the parks feel the adverse effect monetarily, runners, hikers, and nature enthusiasts are also losing out. In addition to the Senior Hiking Retreat, the Towpath Marathon, set for Sunday, is also hindered because of the inaccessibility of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The main difference between the two is that the retreat will still go on.

“That Buckeye trail that goes through the Cuyahoga Valley Recreational Area is awesome, but we’ll just have to adapt,” Mr. DeVenney, the retreat leader, said.

And so they did.

After discovering the news that the retreat could not proceed as planned, Mr. DeVinney looked around to other possible sites to hike with the boys and found a good substitute– Brecksville Reservation in the Cleveland Metroparks.

Although Mr. DeVenney doesn’t like it quite as much as the original trail, he still thinks it’s a nice place for the retreat and likes how “it’s more secluded” than the Buckeye trail.


“The purpose of the retreat will still be there; to spend some time in nature…God’s creation.”

Furthermore, there will be no fundamental changes in the one day getaway. “The purpose of the retreat will still be there; [that is] to spend some time in nature, you know, God’s creation,” DeVenney said.

But there was one thing about the change which DeVenney was sincerely disappointed about. “Instead of eating at the Winking Lizard, which is the best place ever because they have the big Ed burger,” DeVenney said, “we will be going to Simon’s restaurant in Brecksville.”

Fortunately for Mr. DeVenney and his 9 senior hikers, they were able to keep their retreat on schedule and integrally the same; that still, however, is just a short term fix to the problems created by the government shutdown.

“If Congress would actually do things for the good of the American people we’d be OK,” said Mr. DeVenney, “but instead they’re very selfish and think too politically.”