to continue the topic of Carlsbad from above...
I haven't had much "good luck," in general, during the last couple of years, but maybe things are turning up for me now.
I booked my current trip in November, and this is one is primarily for birding, but, of course, I welcomed the chance to pick up a few WHSs along the way. Consequently, I decided to add a visit to Carlsbad Caverns after I had all my other destinations worked out, and it was not simple, given the fairly remote location of the Park.
Then the Clown Show in DC began in December, sadly fouling the plans of two veteran members. "Surely, this will be resolved by the time I arrive on Jan 26" I thought.
Well, on Friday the 25th I spent all morning killing time in the Dallas airport, and the news on the screens was mostly of the "No end in sight for the shutdown" variety. Nevertheless, I boarded the small, but expensive flight to Carlsbad I had booked. After arriving in the late afternoon, I picked up my bike, which I had shipped ahead, assembled it, and rode the 33 km to White's City, NM, the closest accommodation to the park.
Much to my surprise, when I checked in, the receptionist told me that the government had finally reopened, just hours before! But, would the Caves in the park be accessible during the next two days when I would be in the area? Well, of course the National Park Service is more efficient than the executive and legislature, and everything had already reopened on Saturday morning. :-) I decided to make my visit on Sunday, just to give them a little extra time.
It was a worthwhile visit, even with the extra tension, and the Caverns are definitely an excellent WHS. One benefit of visiting in January, the day after a long closure, was that the number of visitors was relatively low. When I walked into the cave through the natural entrance, I was the only human in sight for almost the entire way. Nice!
I hope that the dysfunctional US government doesn't ruin the future plans of any more community members (I myself have plans for two more national park WHSs this May), but I don't think we should be very optimistic about that.