Yesterday this corner spoke to Phil Bloom, the Director of Communications for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Aside from riding herd over the never-ending flow of routine public information from the agency responsible for everything from water wells to deer hunting, he also has the unenviable task of being the top spokesperson for the DNR.
In other words, if things are going good, you probably won’t see or hear Phil. If somebody did something dumb, or a member of the public gets their underwear in a bunch, you’ll probably witness Phil trying to explain what happened from the DNR perspective.
Of course, a large segment of the public never ever bothers to accept reason or those silly facts when it comes to natural resources or fuzzy woodland animals like Bambi and Thumper but I digress.
By the way, those are my words, not Phil’s. That’s also not why we’re here today.
One of the topics we discussed was the fact that so many people haven’t quite figured out that state outdoor facilities such as state parks, museums, campgrounds and recreation areas are open. Federal facilities, such as Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Hoosier National Forest campgrounds are closed.
No one is sure if recreational facilities operated by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers are open or not because nobody is answering the phones.
I found it amazing that people weren’t aware of the difference between state and federal facilities but a quick, unscientific, informal survey this afternoon showed that sadly, most people didn’t pay attention in government class in high school.
So, here is the bottom line: all recreation facilities in Indiana are open, except if they aren’t. If the proprietors of the area in question wear nifty brown “Smokey the Bear” ranger hats or work for the army, they’re probably sitting at home figuring out how to make their next car payment. By the way, congress is still getting paid.
Everything else is probably open.