Sometimes we forget that if we look in the mirror, we will find common-sense solutions to problems — solutions that don’t rely on government. Case in point: As the funding debate continues in Washington D.C., folks are rightly concerned about public health hazards stemming from bathrooms in national parks that aren’t being cleaned and trash that’s piling up. Rather than waiting for government to ‘do something,’ nonprofits and groups of Facebook friends are simply stepping up to address the problem themselves.

In the Hike The Smokies Facebook Group, Newland created a “Government Shutdown Litter Patrol” post and detailed the family’s plan to help the park.

“First, it was off to the Little River and Jake’s Creek trailheads where we were pleasantly surprised that there wasn’t much work for us. Next, we headed to the Laurel Falls trailhead and, as expected, we had plenty of work!” Newland said in the Facebook post. “We headed up the trail and before we knew it, our bags were full.”

We have the power to take control and help ourselves through the partial government shutdown. Let’s get after it — shutdown or no shutdown. Let’s apply common sense to more aspects of life that we’ve ceded to government. I’m starting by renewing my commitment to empowering North Carolina parents to choose where and how their children are educated. Where will you start?