There’s another side to thriving tourism

In response to Ian Dunn’s May 11 article on Leavenworth Art in the Park: As a Leavenworth local, I am always happy to see our artists and local businesses thriving. However, I don’t believe that these surges of tourism over the last year should be seen in a completely positive light.

It worries me, as well as other locals, to work in the middle of a global pandemic and see — not a decrease in tourism — but an unprecedented increase.

While some businesses like restaurants had to enforce occupancy limits to maintain safer conditions, our hotels did not. Some hotels initially enforced 75% occupancies but repealed this no longer than 2 months later. Overall, our hotels have been operating at 100% capacity for the busiest times of the year. And, these hotels have been 100% booked every single weekend for the last year.

As an employee in the hotel industry here in Leavenworth, this is worrying. We have been more consistently busy than any previous years, which I would usually see as a positive; however, we are in the middle of a pandemic that is taking lives every day.

It is quite aggravating to see our town receiving such traffic during a time when it is recommended to stay home and practice distancing to help maintain safety. It feels as though our town is not seen as a real place where people live and work but as a theme park to escape to when everything else is closed.

Adding on to this aggravation is the ridiculous amount of masks that tourists decide to discard along our trails and roads, the same masks that many tourists are hesitant to wear properly.

While it is relieving to see our businesses doing well during a global crisis, it is not worth it to compromise our infrastructure and overall well-being to attempt to deal with such hazardous levels of tourism.

I am worried for the Christmas season this year. If our numbers continue in the same way that they have been, our town’s infrastructure will once again strain under the pressure of thousands of tourists.



Thoughts on social media and voting rights

First, good for you Sharon Muir for sharing your opinion (Twitter: Diluted, pathetic and pointless, (April 22). Not everyone is confident enough in their ideas to go against what is considered to be the truth on social media. You are spot on about Twitter and, I think, all other platforms.

I cannot categorize all social media users as being followers, but I would say that it is easier to read an opinion than have one and say it out loud. Unlike social media, you cannot check a box and hide or delete folks who read and disagree with what you say in the real world.

Second, let me address Mr. Teas letter about voting (Election security does not equal voter suppression, April 22). I missed the “proposed voting barriers” letter so I cannot speak to that letter, only to Mr. Teas.

I did look to the internet for information on the bill. With more research I am sure that information on the remaining initiatives could be found. And be certain that I will find the letter first noted regarding voting barriers.

You are right Mr. Teas in saying there have been instances of voter fraud, and all eligible people should be able to vote. Voting is the most powerful tool we have in this country. However, there are people who do not want us to use that power. Voter suppression is what they use and it comes in many forms. Just because they dress it up and call it election security does not make it so. You know the old saying “You can put lipstick on a pig and dress it in satin but it is still a pig.”