Washington’s grown a bit nastier and colder since the last government shutdown, and the casualties of the partisan fight are the family memories lost from being denied access to public landmarks that are supposed to belong to the people. The government doesn’t see it that way anymore – it’s all just a “damn game” and the folks running the Capitol are just toying with the American people.
That’s right – public memorials, monuments and parks remained open under President Clinton and the Republican Congress in 1995/96, causing one to wonder how much inconvenience and financial hardship this partial government shutdown is creating is actually necessary.
Nonetheless, American parks, memorials and monuments across are shuttered today, despite many of them being privately funded and run at no expense to the taxpayer and despite Republicans passing bills to keep them running while the two parties negotiate on funding the government.
The following list of 13 parks and monuments and how they were affected by the government slowdown shows exactly what kind of ridiculous nonsense is going on in America nowadays.
1. Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin
Governor Scott Walker is defying a federal order to shutdown Wisconsin state parks like Devil’s Lake, which is one of the state’s revenue-generating “crown jewels.” Walker directed his cabinet to “streamline things and make sure services are available,” a state official said, according to The Hill.
That’s right. When funds run low in business, you cut back and eliminate waste, you don’t shut down.
2. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
Meanwhile, at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard offered to keep the Mount Rushmore National Memorial open with state workers. The National Park Service told state officials it was required to use federal employees, and not state employees, at the monument.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Tony Venhuizen, a spokesman for the governor remarked:
“It makes sense for the federal government to shut things down because there isn’t funding available, but it doesn’t make sense to close something because they are trying to make a point. Our offer still stands if there is a change of heart on the part of federal officials. We certainly would be pleased to talk to them if they seem interested.”
3. Blue Ridge Mountains, NC
The owner of the Pisgah Inn off the Blue Ridge Parkway was rudely closed down by federal officials on Friday after a brief period of defiance. The Inn is a private business that receives no federal money, but happens to be located near a park run by the National Park Service. Does this seem like the behavior of a representative government that respects people’s private property rights?
Owner Bruce O’Connell told Breitbart News:
“All we do is pay the government money. We don’t take anything from them.”
4. Claude Moore Colonial Farm, VA
On Wednesday, the PJ Tatler broke the story of the National Park Service closing the Claude Moore Colonial Farm. The farm has been self-sufficient since the federal government cut its funding in 1980 and now receives no federal funds.
But according to the Tatler, the National Park Service “ordered the park closed and placed barricades at its facilities. It has also threatened anyone who enters the park with arrest.” Managing Director Anna Eberly said that the farm has been…
…“critical of the National Park Service because we think they have closed us down illegally according to the terms of the agreement we signed with them in 1981.”
5. Lincoln Park, D.C.
Lincoln Park in Washington D.C., located near several powerful Democratic Senators’ residences, has remained open, according to sources that told the Daily Caller. Senator Max Baucus was seen strolling through the park after the government “shutdown.”
The NPS press office did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment, likely because no one is working at the press office (although NPS teams have been dispatched to close off public monuments around the Capitol — just not Lincoln Park, apparently).
6. Yellowstone National Park, WY
At the country’s first national park, all entrances were closed on Tuesday morning and day visitors were directed to find the nearest exit, a park spokesman told the Wall Street Journal. At Pahaska Tepee Resort, just outside of Yellowstone park, manager Angela Coe said that some guests were cutting their trips short and had checked out tourists from China, Thailand and France. She told WSJ:
“This is just very disappointing. We have people from all over the world who want to see Yellowstone and they can’t get in.”
7. Statue of Liberty, NY
The Statue of Liberty is run by the federal government and requires security screening for visitors onto Liberty Island. Statue Tours are licensed by concession to provide ferry rides to the island at passenger expense, but are currently only able to provide a grand view of the 151 foot tall monument to freedom.
8. Turtle Park, Washington D.C.
“Turtle Park” is a small, local park in Washington D.C. run by the Friends of Friendship. It was shuttered because of the partial government shutdown, although local residents were reported by the Daily Caller as constantly playing a game of remove the barricades — forcing park police to constantly return and close it back off at taxpayer expense.
This type of petty insistence on selectively closing even small, mostly charity-maintained parks shows the kind of vindictiveness we are dealing with — and it’s all to lead people to blame the Republicans for harming citizens, even though the National Park Service is purposefully harassing residents at the behest of superiors. (See more on this below.)
9. “Old Faithful,” WY
A signature feature of Yellowstone National Park (see above), the hot springs geyser “Old Faithful” was being guarded by park police this week. One figures if the National Park Service can dispatch public employees to block off and watch landmarks like a hawk, they can put them there to help people see the sites.
According to the WSJ, locals helped pay for snowplowing at Yellowstone when the national park couldn’t afford it because of automatic federal budget cuts known as the sequester. Renny MacKay, a spokesman for Wyoming’s Republican Governor Matt Mead, said:
“The closure of national parks and monuments in Wyoming creates a significant economic hardship on many small businesses in nearby communities.”
10. Mount Vernon, VA
As previously reported by Mike Miller, the National Park Service (NPS) tried to shut down George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate Tuesday as part of the government shutdown. There was only one problem: Mount Vernon is funded entirely by private contributions.
Melissa Wood, Mt. Vernon’s media director, said the NPS removed barricades it had placed at the entrance to a parking lot “as soon as they realized their mistake.” However, Stephen Gutowski of The College Politico tweeted that one the estate’s parking lots was still barricaded as of Thursday.
11. Grand Canyon, AZ
Also as reported by Mike Miller, the selective barricading of national parks and monuments continues, “due to the government shutdown,” and tourists are being turned away from the Grand Canyon, despite Arizona’s push to reopen it with state funds.
As reported by Fox News, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants to reopen the iconic part with state money, but her proposal was rejected Thursday by park superintendent Dave Uberuaga, who said such a plan isn’t an option. An estimated 2,200 people who work at the Grand Canyon National Park and its hotels have been furloughed as a result of the government slimdown that began Tuesday.
An angry Park Service ranger told the Washington Times:
“We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”
12. WW2 Memorial, Washington D.C.
The National Park Service dispatched security teams at taxpayer’s expense this week to barricade a charity funded, 24 hour-a-day, open-air WWII memorial to obstruct veterans’ visitation through the charity organization Honor Flight. Veterans busted through the barriers, anyway, with a little help from friends and lawmakers.
According to Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio President Lee Armstrong, he called the National Park Service, which responded like this:
He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest.
…“I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there.” She said, ‘That’s correct sir.’
13. The Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
In an unprecedented move, the Lincoln Memorial was shut down by the Obama administration, and a guard placed outside of it. The following is a picture taken from the last government shutdown.
President Obama has selectively dispatched National Park Service workers to purposefully inconvenience Americans to score partisan political points against his adversaries in Congress. That’s simply incredible, but not surprising coming from the man who shut off White House tours under the sequester, but still hosted private parties there.