Government Shutdown Theater continues, and so do the ridiculous federally-ordered closures.
We’ve all heard about the hundreds of thousands of government workers who were furloughed because of the government shutdown, but humans weren’t the only ones impacted. Twenty-eight hard-working Nubian goats were sent home because of concerns about their place of employment being closed by the feds. The goats were hired to take care of a poison ivy infestation in New Jersey’s Gateway National Recreation Area.
Speaking of parks and recreational areas, a privately-owned inn in North Carolina was forced to close on Thursday because it operates in a leased building on federal land. On Friday, the owner, Bruce O’Connell, decided to defy the government and reopen his dining room, gift shop and country store. That lasted about two hours. National Park Service rangers blocked the entrances to the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway, effectively shutting down business at the height of tourism season. The inn was booked solid for October.
The feds also tried to close another privately-funded tourist site – George Washington’s Mt. Vernon estate. The National Park Service showed up on Tuesday and barricaded the parking lots.
This displeased former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich:
Mt. Vernon officials approached the NPS, which removed the barricades “as soon as they realized their mistake,” said Melissa Wood, the site’s media director. She added that the Park Service maintains the parking lots, but Mount Vernon owns the property.
The NPS closed a historical farm that hasn’t received government funding since 1980. The Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, Virginia, was hosting a Chamber of Commerce event when the NPS sent the Park Police over to escort staff and volunteers off the property. Anna Eberly, the site’s managing director, said, ”You do have to wonder about the wisdom of an organization that would use staff they don’t have the money to pay to evict visitors from a park site that operates without costing them any money.”
Eberly makes an excellent point. Our taxpayer money is being wasted on this shutdown. The placement of Barrycades all across the country is a good example of this:
How many NPS employees does it take to post “closed” signs? Are these “essential” employees?
It seems like all of these closures require more staff than keeping the sites open does.
Meanwhile, in Arizona: More than 100 U.S. Forest Service campgrounds and areas run by the Arizona-based company Recreation Resource Management were forced to evacuate and shutter up. RRM president Warren Meyer told Fox Business, “our operations are self-sufficient (we are fully funded by user fees at the gate), we get no federal funds, we employ no government workers on these sites, and we actually pay rent into the Treasury. I can only assume their intention is to artificially increase the cost of the shutdown as some sort of political ploy.”
The Grand Canyon is also closed because of the government shutdown. Governor Jan Brewer offered to use state money to pay to reopen the park, but her offer was rejected by a park official. Businesses in the area have also offered to contribute to reopening the park.
National Park Service employees sure have been busy – they blocked access to VIEW Mount Rushmore from the road:
The NPS put those cones along highway viewing areas outside Mount Rushmore, barring visitors from pulling over and taking pictures of the monument. “It disgusts me that taxpayer resources were used on this act of stupidity,” Rep. Kristi Noem said. “This is federal government arrogance at its worst.”
City Tavern, a historical restaurant in Philadelphia, was forced to close because it is located inside Independence National Historical Park and the building is owned by the U.S. National Parks Service. The restaurant’s public relations director Molly Yun said they were forced to cancel booked parties, including one serving 200 visitors from Japan on Wednesday night, for at least the next four days leaving patrons “angry” and “aggravated.” Yun added that City Tavern was allowed to remain open during the last government shutdown 17 years ago.
In Las Vegas, elderly residents have been forced out of their private homes on Lake Mead because they happen to be located on federal land. An estimated 60 families with vacation homes along the lake who were given notice by the National Park Service earlier this week to gather their stuff and leave, according to Christie Vanover, a spokeswoman for the Lake Mead Recreational Area.
Perhaps the most preposterous and obnoxious forced closing so far is this: the National Park Service has closed access to Florida Bay…which leads to the OCEAN. That’s right – charter boat captains in Florida were told that until government funding is restored, more than 1,100 square miles of prime fishing is off limits between the southern tip of the mainland to the Keys.
The closing affects not only fishing guides, but anyone with a license to conduct business in the park, including tour operators and paddling guides. Anyone with a Commercial Use Authorization permit will be impacted, said Dan Kimball, superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas national parks. Park rangers will be on duty to enforce the ban.
The feds ordered the state of Wisconsin to close several state parks that receive federal funding. However, Governor Scott Walker has decided to ignore that order and a Fish and Wildlife Service order to ban hunting and fishing on federal lands. State officials said that Wisconsin provides more than half the funding for the parks, so they will be kept open with state money.
Governor Walker isn’t the only one who is defying government orders – citizens are tired of the shutdown shenanigans too, and are taking matters into their own hands:
Perhaps the best thing to shut down since the Shutdown began: The Obamacare website has been closed for repairs this weekend.
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