Around The Parks: A Blurring Of National Park Lines

The National Park Service, and its employees, should not be blamed for the parks' closure.

Around the country, as the partial government shutdown moves into its second week, taxpayers angry with the closure of national parks are showing their disgust through civil disobedience, mockery, and anger directed at the National Park Service.

The national park idea, long recognized as America's best, is being degraded and disrespected as the result of a much different idea—using the parks as leverage to try to gain the advantage in a political donnybrook.

Many of the government functions impacted by the shutdown, while important, simply don't have the same media interest—or impact on the general public—as closure of the national parks. It's hard to generate a compelling news photo based on the interruption of airliner safety inspection or suspensions of some FDA food safety inspections. Hang a closed sign on the entrance to the Grand Canyon, however, or put a belligerent congressman face-to-face with a ranger at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, and you have plenty of fodder for the prime-time network news.

The result is an agency and its employees caught in the middle of a fight it didn't create—or want.

Some critics are driven by anger over loss of income from the parks' closure. Others by disgust with Obama administration. Still others seemingly by the belief that the federal government has no right to close the parks. In the end, however, it's the rangers on the ground who are seen as the "face" of the shutdown.

Some Republicans in Congress, particularly in the House, blame the administration for the parks' continued closure, pointing out that that chamber voted to restore funding for the Park Service, among some other agencies and programs. But that legislation was tied to a demand that the Affordable Care Act be scaled back. Some protesting the parks' closure staged an "occupy" movement of Zion National Park last week, a protest that reportedly drew fewer than two dozen.

Many more turned out at Acadia National Park, where they simply walked around barricades to spend a beautiful fall afternoon on the park's Carriage Roads. One of those visitors was involved in a backcountry accident, and the resulting rescue severely taxed the limited resources of a park in "shutdown mode."

Alternate Text
At Acadia National Park this week, many cyclists routinely ignored the "closed" signs at the Carriage Roads. Rebecca Latson photo.

No doubt other parks saw visitors ignore the closure signs. There's even a "movement" encouraging people to enter the parks while they're closed.

In Florida, word that the waters of Everglades and Biscayne national parks were being closed led to ridicule of the Obama administration for "closing the ocean." However, the waters adjoining those two parks are as much part of the parks as the Thorofare region of Yellowstone National Park is part of that park, as the Tuloumne Meadows area is of Yosemite National Park, as the Maze is of Canyonlands National Park, and as the Cataloochee Valley is of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Too, Biscayne counts approximately 40 keys, or islets, within its watery landscape. That seascape, which comprises 95 percent of the park, also holds historic shipwrecks and fragile coral reefs that have suffered in the past from poachers of history. Those of Everglades hold vital habitat for fisheries.

When those parks were created, the Park Service was charged with overseeing those resources, and with reduced ranks spurred by the failure of Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded, the agency is sorely lacking the manpower to monitor those areas.

"Whether units of the NPS are historic buildings that can be physically closed by closing a door, or parks with entrance stations able to close with a staff person speaking to visitors or by pulling gates across roads or in the case of some of our nation's most sacred sites, from the Lincoln Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial to the new WW ll Memorial that do not have physical doors or gates to close - these places are all a part of the National Park System whether they have a structure to close or they are sites without a defined entrance point such as the Lincoln Memorial," said Joan Anzelmo, a former park superintendent and now a member of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees.

"The NPS is responsible for them and they are on federal lands. If left unstaffed in ways the public can see -- and more importantly in the ways the public can't see -- these places will not be preserved the way the agency has been directed to do by Congress," she added. "Congress can't direct the agency on one hand to protect the parks (all of them) so they are unimpaired for the future generations and then suddenly just say never mind- let them be open or let some of them be open. The U.S. National Park System has been an exemplar to the world and parks and the employees should not be played as pawns by Congress."

Regarding the situation at the National Mall, where attention has been focused on access, in particular, to the World War II Veterans Memorial, Ms. Anzelmo pointed to the status of all of the Mall's memorials as icons of our nation ... and also as potential targets for those who wish to do our country harm.

"I worked the shutdown in '95 and '96 and remember there were barricades placed at the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials in that shutdown. Fast forward these 17 years and the security concerns area thousand times what they were in the innocent 1990s especially at the iconic locations such as the National Mall and Memorials in Washington, D.C.," she said. "
There are many behind-the-scenes security-related components, including staff (uniform and plain clothes) that are in place to protect these sacred sites and the millions of people who visit them. When you furlough the vast majority of the workforce due to no appropriation you suddenly reduce the capacity to safely protect the sacred sites themselves and to protect the visitors who wish to visit them. This is very serious business in present day times."

That the National Park System has become a pawn in Congress's malfeasance is unfortunate, regrettable, and unnecessarily places the rangers, and the public, at risk.


Yes, the Park Service is a pawn....a willing pawn to be sure. The visual images of wheel-chair bound veterans facing barricades at the WWII memorial will be an unforgettable memory of the event.... along with today's opening of the Mall for a Union sponsored immigration rally...where Democrat legislators will strain their voices screaming for 'equality' in this country. Simply unforgettable...and unforgivable.

A welcome piece to help un-blur the lines. I'm inclined to agree with Kurt's article rather than Mike's claim that the Park Service is a "willing pawn to be sure."

Good article, Kurt. No doubt you will get complaints from the normal complainers, but you said several things that are absolutely correct: 1.) this is a fight that the NPS did not create or want. The failure of the Congress to agree on the highest national priorities created it. 2.) park employees are caught right in the middle of it. Congressional legislation (the Anti-Deficiency Act) prohibits agencies from spending money they don't have. That's why the "essential" employees are working without pay until the shutdown is over.

As the shutdown drags into its second week, I hope all of us can recognize that it is not an adequate answer to political disagreements. Nor are vandalism, occupation, and tearing down barricades. Professor Rod Nash once said that the national park idea was America's greatest gift to the world. Let's not profane it and turn our parks into areas of political warfare.


No govt agency is a 'willing pawn'. They are at the mercy of legislators. I seriously doubt that any agency official (high or low) thought 'take THAT, American people!' as they shut doors, sent employees home, & turned the public away.

I was a federal employee during the last 2 furloughs. The first time I was furloughed, the second we were deemed essential. From the top of the agency down, there was frustration and anger that we couldn't get our job done and serve our public. There was also concern and worry for some of our fellow employees who were sent home without pay (as far as we knew then) while we were still allowed to work.

I'm all for freedom to assemble, but please remember that the federal employees (ie law enforcement) who may be there during any protests or 'walk ins' at Natl Parks are not responsible for this mess. They are just doing their jobs, no matter how they may personally feel about the shutdown. Directing any anger or verbal abuse at them is unnecessary, counterproductive, and wrong. Be angry at your elected officials. But taking it out on some poor federal employee is like kicking your neighbor's dog because you hate the color your neighbor painted his house. In the end, it only hurts the dog and won't make your neighbor change a thing.

Willing pawn or not, the NPS has brought some of this on themselves when they decided to "make the public feel the pain" of these shutdowns. Jarvis and his crew were caught saying this last summer and, in turn, put themselves in the crosshairs of public antipathy.

There is at least one Republican(Diaz-Balart of Florida) who is scheduled to speak at that immigration rally.

Also, I would note that if those WW2 Veterans had showed up at the WW2 Memorial on August 28 they would have found the memorial barricaded in much the same way as it is today. Most of the Memorials were closed that day as they were inside the security zone for the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington at the Lincoln Memorial. There was public access to the commeration at 17th Street, but all the Memorials(including the WW2) were closed for most of the day.

The simple fact is that security zones are created a couple times of year on some part of the National Mall that restricts access. The Monuments and Memorials are sometimes impacted, sometimes not. The idea that these Monuments and Memorials have 24/7 unfettered access is not accurate.

SmokiesBackpacker -

re: "Jarvis and his crew were caught saying this last summer ( 'make the public feel the pain' of these shutdowns.")

If an NPS official really said that, and that expressed his goal for the shutdown (as opposed to the unavoidable result of a shutdown), then he was in the wrong.

As the above article points out, making a lot of people "feel the pain" is the underlying strategy of the politicians responsible for the shutdown, because they feel that's the only way they can generate enough pressure to force concessions from the opposition.

I'll have to side with ecbuck on this one by requesting a credible source for your statement about "Jarvis and his crew." If we're actually accusing someone of wrongdoing on this site, as opposed to merely stating our opinions, then we ought to provide documentation for our claim.

In accordance with the Antideficiency Act of 1870, the OMB instructed agencies to conduct an orderly "shutdown" of government activities that" obligate expeditures." NPS leaders interpreted this to mean closure of public access to NPS lands and roads "wherever possible." (I propose this should have been worded "wherever necessary to not obligate expeditures.")

The Antideficiency Act allows the government to continue activities that are needed "in case of emergency involving the safety of human life or the protection of property."

The Antideficiency Act of 1870 does not prohibt the public from accessing their public lands.

There is room, under the law, that allows NPS leadership to make choices that could allow the public limited and reasonable access to outdoor areas and private businesses when appropriate and that did not "obligate expeditures".

Choices are being made by the agency on how to implement an "orderly shutdown" as they have been instructed by the OMB . Some of these choices have been appropriate and warranted. Some have been mistakes. (The closure of Mount Vernon for example).

It is human to make mistakes. We should not expect the NPS to handle this shutdown perfectly. But carte blanche immunity from critique for every decision NPS leaders make because we are enamored with the agency mission and image allows too much room for corruption and incompetance.

haunted hiker -

(edited) I agree that the NPS has made some decisions in handling the shutdown that are hard to defend; one example is the Pisgah Inn (a concessioner on the Blue Ridge Parkway.) Once the decision was made to leave the Parkway open to public travel, it's hard for the public to find the logic for forcing the Pisgah Inn to close, unless the NPS pays the utilities or some other operating costs for the buildings. The NPS may have been legally correct in that situation, but from a practical and public relations standpoint, it's difficult to justify that decision as long as the public continues to drive past the Inn on the Parkway.

I find it amusing though that we see call by hikers to go into the parks regardless of the closure orders. Amazingly enough, hikers don't seem to appreciate to be locked out anymore than cyclists do. :)

and it's a failure for the agency in terms of public relations.

Was it a failure of the agency or a policy forced upon them by the powers above. I am inclined to believe the latter.

Three things:

1>The anti-deficiency act makes it a criminal offense for a government employee to continue working during a shutdown unless there are circumstances that require it.

2> The Mount Vernon closure has turned out be a hoax. (This is directly from their website: )

"George Washington's Mount Vernon is privately owned by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association and will remain open despite the threat of a shutdown of the federal government. Despite some reports to the contrary, our parking lots are open and available. We stand ready to welcome all visitors to the home of our founding father and first president.

Mount Vernon has never accepted any government funds throughout its long history.

We are an institution that is supported through the generosity of citizens like you. Consider becoming a member of this great and important institution. Learn More About Membership."

3> I have yet to see any documentation of any kind that links anyone at either the White House, Interior, or NPS to any of those widely reported tales of "making this hurt."

I firmly believe that one of the most insidious threats facing this country is not political wrangling, nor poisonous contrails in the sky, nor various "plots" by the United Nations -- instead it is the large number of Americans who refuse for whatever reason the verify the truthfulness of something they hear on radio or see on the Internet before passing it along as a "Fact."

I once thought that gullibility and stupidity were two different things. Now I'm becoming more and more certain all the time that they are very closely related.


The "making this hurt" tale came from an unidentifed ranger who wanted to remain anonymous to a fox news reporter. The reporter did go on to note that it only occured in one area and it was unknown if it was a Service wide mandate. Another Park Service employee stated he "never heard of guidance like that." This was during the sequester.

It is being brought up again but this time, the un-named wanting to remain anonymous ranger is located in Washington, DC. Again, from Fox news and echoed by, Glenn Beck, and the like.

There has never been, that I can find, a letter, email, or anything else that points to an order coming down from the White House, DOI, or Jarvis. But, Congress is now calling to have all correspondence held for review. This report is from Fox News.

Exactly, Dahkota, and thanks for your post. That is exactly the kind of stuff I've been hearing, too.

Fact checkers are so easy to use -- why do so many choose to ignore them?

In fact, here is a direct link to an item in snopes that debunks an article from a site called INFOWARS that has been cited as a "factual" source by one of our favorite negativists.

Again, I have to ask, is the failure to check facts before passing something along as "factual" a result of laziness, stupidity, or gullibility. Or is it all three?

And now this. Not actually written by a park ranger, but you have to admire the spirit.

That was great, Rick B.

been cited as a "factual" source by one of our favorite negativists.

Could you identify when and where that happened? Just checking the facts.

{edit} Apologies - I first read that as a poster here claimed the Russians would be guarding. Now I see that you are discrediting every story on INFOWARS because one of their stories was inaccurate. In that case I guess we have to dismiss the entire media because I dare say not one of them have been 100% accurate.

As usual you try to discredit the source rather than address the actual facts that were in whatever story you are referencing. That is what one does when they don't have legitimate arguments.

Sorry, sweetcheeks.

Declaring that a dog's tail is a leg doesn't give the dog five legs. Your declaring that a claim on a source you like is as 'fact' doesn't make it so.

Who was it that said "believe NOTHING you 'hear' and only HALF of what you 'see' with your very own eyes"? Not sure who it was originally; but, I've been quoting it for about 50 years.

Your declaring that a claim on a source you like is as 'fact' doesn't make it so.

I have declared no such thing. I don't even have a clue what story or comment Lee is referencing. What I am declaring is one erroneous story does not make every other claim from that source false. Do we discredit everything CBS says because Dan Rather made up stuff?

If you have an argument, make it with facts. Discrediting a claim because of its source is nothing more than wimping out because you have nothing else to back your stance.

I'm not all that insecure about 'wimping out'; perhaps that is a concern for you as you keep mentioning it.

No, I have to disagree with you. Part of critical thinking is evaluating the source of the information you are contemplating.

This article is a little mentioned GOP's willingness to negociate for keeping NPs open but failed to note GOP is the same group that insist to hold the entire gov't down to its knees if it doesn't get it's way with defunding and/or delaying the Affordable Care Act. It is a law! It has been tested and approved by Supreme Court. In 2-years GOP tried to repeal it 43 times...a little excessive, no?!

This shutdown doesn't have to happen at all. If not the national park, it would be some other "non-essential" daily needs from our govt services that would pissed everyone off. The argument for smaller govt and less spending is so simple but it will never happen, we are stuck in an military-industrial-complex. This goes back to at least Eisenhower's recognization of the problem in 1961 and we have made no progress since.

Challenges facing our nation can be complex at times, but this doesn't mean each time, we must resort to shutdown to make a point. Especially when that point has been voted 43 times. I must admit it's great for talking heads in TV shows...more importantly, other nations get to laugh at our expense...literally!

No, I have to disagree with you.

OK. So we dismiss everything that CBS says because of Dan Rather. We dismiss everything the New York times says because of Jason Blair, USA Today for Jack Kelly? Sure we can take suspect sources and give them extra scrutiny. I certainly do when reading the Times or the WashPo or listening to network news. Call it "profiling" -something I suspect you are against when it comes to crime. We may review those sources more thouroughly, but just like profiling, the suspect isn't guilty until proven so.

Dismissing any story from a "suspect" source purely because it is from that source is preemtively declaring it "guilty". It is the tact that someone takes when they lack the facts to make a legitimate argument.

but failed to note GOP is the same group that insist to hold the entire gov't down to its knees if it doesn't get it's way with defunding and/or delaying the Affordable Care Act. It is a law!

And the requirement that the House fund is the law too. In fact, it is the law spelled out in the Constitution which trumps all else. What you have failed to note is that the GOP was willing to fund 99+% of the government including most of Obamacare. They only asked for two things:

1) Congress be subject to the same rules as the public and

2) Individuals get the same 1 year delay in the mandate as corporations

Which of those two do you think is unreasonable?

Justin won't answer, and unless I missed it Kurt hasn't answered. Perhaps you would like to take a stab.

Justin won't answer

I'm still waiting for you to explain how this is relevant to my argument. If you review our discussion, it's a long thread of you attempting to shoehorn random talking points into a conversation where they simply don't make sense. Often it's enough to point this out to you, and so you drop them from the conversation, but sometimes you don't, and this is usually how a conversation with you disintegrates into incoherence. So, once again, how are these questions relevant to my argument?

EC, re missing answers, three days ago I asked if you had documented proof that the Pisgah Inn doesn't "require government funding," and I'm still waiting on that.

As to the House request that there be a one-year delay in the mandate, could it be that they hope to win a majority in the Senate in 2014 and so can get the entire Congress to repeal the law? I wouldn't be surprised to find that's part of their calculus.

That said, I wouldn't be terribly surprised to see the GOP lose the House and the Senate after this episode.

As to subjecting Congress to the same rules of the public, I'm all for it, as I'm sure I've mentioned somewhere during the past eight years of the Traveler;-)

Now, about that claim that the government doesn't spend anything on the Pisgah Inn?

how this is relevant to my argument

Justin - I have no clue what your argument is - other than argument.

EC, re missing answers, three days ago I asked if you had documented proof that the Pisgah Inn doesn't "require government funding," and I'm still waiting on that.

Sorry I missed that. The property is leased (which according to Sara in an early comment indicates it shouldn't be subject to closuer) and I have seen nothing to show that the facility requires current funding. Perhaps you have something to show that??? What would it need funding for that the operators wouldn't cover?

As to the House request that there be a one-year delay in the mandate, could it be that they hope to win a majority in the Senate in 2014 and so can get the entire Congress to repeal the law? I wouldn't be surprised to find that's part of their calculus.

So there is something evil in Congress using its Constitutional powers to reach a goal but it was OK for the President to unilaterally (and unconstitutionally) ignore the law and institute a delay in the corporate mandate? How can you say a corporate delay is OK but an individual delay is not?

I'll "take a stab"... Mr. Buck, please, please, there are thousands of political and news websites for readers seeking political debates. I come to NPT for Park news.

Rod - like it or not, the parks are part of the political debate. If you don't want to participate, leave the thread when it is no longer relevant to you. That way you are happy and those that wish to discuss the issue aren't silenced by your sensitivities.

ec - I'm a bit confused why you're in favor of the House bill to delay the "personal mandate" but you object to the President delaying the corporate mandate. I though delaying or dismantling the ACA was what this whole fight (and therefore the shutdown affecting the parks) is all about from the Republicans standpoint.

There are some very good takes on the closures. However, it appears that no "common sense" enters into some of the closers. Examples are open air memorials such as the lawn on the mall (roped off), Vietnam, Korea, WW2, the Parkway examples. The closure of these, and I am sure there are many, many more, make absolutely no common sense unless orders "from above" told them to close to inflict the most pain on the public. That I have no doubt-no other reason.

If I were close to a park or monument, I would be organizing a "civil disobedience" rally over insane decisions "from above".

Whoa, whoa, whoa, EC, you're throwing an unanswered question back at me as a question because you can't answer it??

Being in the property business, I'm guessing you know that leases don't always cover all costs, particularly when it comes to maintaining a facility as large as an inn and the grounds it is set on. If you recall from my two-part series last fall, just because a building is leased out by the Park Service doesn't mean the agency doesn't incur upkeep costs.

And then there are the costs associated with the salaries of rangers who respond to emergencies that might be tied in with the inn in some fashion.

Bottom line: unless you can procur the Park Service's line-item facilities budget for the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah Inn that prove your point, my guess is your claim that the inn runs wholly without any government funding in some form or fashion is off-base.

As to the House's request for a one-year delay, can you document that the administration's move to delay the corporate mandate by one-year was unconstitutional, or is that just rehashing a GOP talking point? A lengthy article in The Atlantic back in July dismissed such talk after interviewing several constitutional experts and examining court rulings.

Nor is the one-year delay of the employer mandate an affront to the Constitution, as Professor Michael McConnell and Congressional Republicans insist. The relevant text requires that the President "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Scholars on both left and right concur that this broadly-worded phrasing indicates that the President is to exercise judgment, and handle his enforcement duties with fidelity to all laws, including, indeed, the Constitution. As McConnell himself notes, both Republican and Democratic Justice Departments have consistently opined that the clause authorizes a president even to decline enforcement of a statute altogether, if in good faith he determines it to be in violation of the Constitution. But, McConnell contends, a president cannot "refuse to enforce a statute he opposes for policy reasons." While surely correct, that contention is beside the point.

As to whether the House's attempt to delay implementation of the ACA for a year on the outside chance it might control both chambers by then, no, that's not evil. Politically motivated and shrewd, absolutely! And I'm sure the Democrats would try the same thing if they were in a similar position.

What I regret is that there are so very, very few "statesmen/women" in Congress to bring some sanity to the body.

I'm a bit confused why you're in favor of the House bill to delay the "personal mandate" but you object to the President delaying the corporate mandate.

Either both should be delayed or neither. My preference would be to eliminate both.

I though delaying or dismantling the ACA was what this whole fight

You thought wrong. It came down to two issues: Make Congress play by the same rules and let individuals get the same break as corporations. That is what your dem heros voted against.

unless you can procur the Park Service's line-item facilities budget

Which you know is impossible in this "most transparent" adminsitration as the Park Service refuses to provide such line item budgets..

my guess is your claim that the inn runs wholly without any government funding in some form or fashion is off-base.

Until you can show that government funds are required, I feel comfortable in my claim.

And then there are the costs associated with the salaries of rangers who respond to emergencies that might be tied in with the inn in some fashion.

What, as opposed to the cost to the rangers that are standing there preventing folks to come in? Be honest, which of those cost are higher?

Missed this one on the last response

can you document that the administration's move to delay the corporate mandate by one-year was unconstitutional

Congress passes the laws. It is the obligation of the Executive Branch to execute the laws. The Executive Branch is not Constitutionally allowed to choose which laws it does and does not enforce. Delaying the Corporate mandate is contrary to the law passed. For the Executive branch to not inforce this Constitionally passed law is Unconstitutional.

RickB, interesting comment. I agree, it is important to evaluate the sources of information one receives. It is difficult at times . Many news sources are owned by mega corporations, Fox News ( Murdock), for one and the list goes on. It is all very complicated, but much that is presented in the mainstream media is closely monitored by the top management of the corporate owner. There are some notable exceptions, PBS, Democracy Now, etc. Was reading an interesting article mentioning the "Economists" Democracy Index, which rates some democratic countries above the United States on its index bar based based on the fact we allow for paid political adds. These nations classify paid political ads as propaganda and bar them. These same nations invest heavily in public media to insure a broader range of voices and a deeper political analysis.

It goes onto to say we need to recognize the dangers of a system in which voters get their information not from a free press, but from a money and media complex that seeks to maintain the free flow of cash into its coffers and of course to protect the agendas of those providing the cash. In my own view, there is much truth here, the never ending slurry of political ads are truly foul and misleading. Hard to even watch many of them.

Justin - I have no clue what your argument is

Not sure I know how to make it any simpler. It doesn't use any big words, and the syntax is pretty simple. If you could point out which part of it you don't understand, I might be able to clarify it for you.

If you could point out which part of it you don't understand,

Any. Rather than dancing, perhaps you would like to state ( restate) it now. My guess is you will continue to dance and reference back to unspecified posts and comments. But I look forward to you making and standing by a specific position. Stating your view on 1: Congress should live by the rules of the public and 2: If the corporate mandate is delayed so should be the indivudual mandate, would be a good start.

Are you saying that you don't understand or don't remember the very argument you're addessing with your questions? Either way, that's a pretty bizarre line of inquiry, ecbuck. My argument, and our discussion through which it is elaborated, that you keep re-invoking is clearly expressed in the comments for the story "Around The Shutdown: Lodging Blues, Apologize To The Ranger, Oil Keeps Flowing." (The average readability score for my argument shows that a tenth grader could understand it. So, I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say you have no clue what it is.) If you want to point out which parts of it you don't understand, I can clarify them for you, and we can get this conversation back on track.

Hello Lee,

1. Agreed. But let's refrain from hyperbole and make note that no one has ever been prosecuted or indicted for violation of the Antideficiency Act, including Abraham Lincoln whose war time spending inspired its creation. Arnold, William G. (2009). The Antideficiency ACT Answer Book. Management Concepts. p. 112.

2. The barricade closure of Mt Vernon wasn't a hoax but it was a mistake that has been rectified.

"The National Park Service blocked parking lots at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate and Gardens “due to a misunderstanding over the ownership of the spaces,” according to Melissa Wood, Mt. Vernon’s media director.

Mount Vernon officials approached the NPS, which removed the barricades “as soon as they realized their mistake,” Wood says, adding that the Park Service maintains the parking lots, but Mount Vernon owns the property."

3. Agreed.

I sincerely hope you didn't intend to call me gullible or stupid, though I do confess: I have succumbed to both those adjectives many times. Especially after my third Maker's Mark.

Right Kurt?

Cheers, Andrea

As I suspected Justin - you won't (can't) express your "arguement". Tell us. What is you point?

You keep bringing it up, so why can't you? It's in that other thread, but because it's elaborated through our discussion, reproducing the entire conversation in a single comment would obviously be too ponderous, especially when it's literally there in black and white for you to review. But let me make it easy for you: insert any answers you want to those questions, and if you can show how they, in your very own words, "destroy my argument," I will be more than happy to concede the issue. So, let's be clear: you said that I'm refusing to answer the questions because my answers would destroy my argument. Provide any answers that you want and explain how they would destroy my argument. This should be easy--place those answers next to my argument, which you can cut and paste from the other thread. If you can't show the very thing you're claiming, I don't know what else can be said.

How does extending one year mandate help citizens? You want the sick and uninsure to wait another year? Why is this even on the table other than revisiting the issue during next year's senate election for more talking points? Are GOPs so afraid of positive results that can happen within this one year? You missed the part where GOP wants to repeal medical device tax...wanna defend that point too? To hold congress on same level as public? What? This ACA isn't about those self-center congress jerks. I'm sure they want to make it sound like they are willing to sacrifice their souls for the public good, but damn it, that is a lot of smoke in our face!

This silly idea to think we can treat corporations and individual mandate as the same is just talking point. Companies have quarterly/annual budget and long term business plans they need to consider...what does you average joe that is sick and need affordable insurance but can't get do?

And now they want to tie this to debt ceiling? You want to support that too? Lets hold the rest of the world hostage too. Why not? Next November, they can talk about how they crash the world economy too! Instead of solving challenges, GOP just creates more and offers no better solution.

The roots of these issues are deep but our divided congress and political system just further divides us all. They throw common sense out the window and rarely working in the interests of the people they claim to serve.


BTW, the Acadia accident involved a 69 yrs old woman that ignored the closure and went hiking in the park anyway. One would think wisdom comes with age...What? No one can wait for next year's Fall foliage? Try telling the sick to wait another year for affordable healthcare!

At the risk of being called stupid, lazy or gullible by Lee or one of the 'normal complainers' by Rick Smith I will post a news release from the Claude Moore farm...

Hi Folks, We have good news for you at last! The NPS has reversed their decision to close the Farm and we will be open tomorrow as usual. You can now visit the 18th century Farm, come to the Book Shop tomorrow afternoon, participate in Farm Skills on Thursday and have picnics at The Pavilions again. And all of our volunteers are welcome to come back "home". Just this morning we received the final absolute NO from the Dept. of Interior and were told the Farm would not open until the shutdown ended. An hour later the Park Police showed up and closed and barricaded the office gates with us inside. This has been a very rough week and we are profoundly grateful that this is ending. Obviously, the decision would not have been reversed without the news coverage, forwarded emails, blogs, tweets, Facebook posts and personal appeals from all of you. People read about the Farm's situation from across the country and have been so generous with words of encouragement, donations, purchasing goods from our website and buying memberships. Folks came up from Richmond today just to pick up livestock feed from the mill in Loudoun County as we have been uneasy about leaving the Farm unprotected. We have no idea why the NPS changed its mind but we are very pleased that they did and hope that every group trying to operate on Federal lands has the same happy outcome. Please check the Farm's Facebook page for updates on the Colonials Against Tyranny protest rally scheduled for 5 pm tomorrow. Our Farm Volunteers are the best! Now we just have to make up the lost revenue and start setting up for the Fall Market Fair to be held on October 19 & 20. If you would like to help in that effort, please email As we say in the 18th century, "Hip, Hip, Huzzah". Thank you all so much and we hope to see you soon at the Farm. Anna Eberly
Managing Director

Evidently something has happened to make the NPS reverse itself regarding this farm. I'm glad that it has and hope that the Park Service continues to rectify some of the outrageous errors it has made during this 'shutdown'.

Of course, it all may yet turn out to be some crazy right wing news coverage that never had any basis in fact. :)

Items posted about by MikeG (on Claude Moore Colonial Farm) and haunter hiker (on Mt. Vernon) at least show someone at the NPS is willing to look at specific situations where the legalities of "ownership" and "operation" can be confusing, and correct mistakes that were made in the initial days of the shutdown.

As to other recent posts: ecbuck and justinh, please call a truce on your back and forth exchange, which adds nothing to the discussion here. Agree that neither of you understands the other, and move on.


Can you please explain what you are requesting here:

1) Congress be subject to the same rules as the public and

I know this has been a republican talking point, blown up by media outlets such as Breitbart and FoxNews but I am pretty sure that most who read those publications do not truly understand the issue nor the facts behind the issue. You repeatedly mention this, so I want your take on it. Maybe if I understand your reasoning, I can see your point of view.

OK, ec, sorry for the lag in responding, but I really try to limit my Traveler time to 12 hours a day.

In short, you can't demand that others document their claims, and castigate them when they don't do that, and then push off the same request. Regarding the Pisgah Inn, you asserted that it takes no government funding to keep it open, so providing the proof of that assertion is on your shoulders, no other's.

As for the constitutionality of the administration's action to delay implementation of ACA on corporation for a year, the Atlantic story I pointed out clearly showed -- through both previous court rulings and the opinions of constitutional experts -- that it was constitutional, and to waive that off through your own opinion doesn't wash, particularly if you're going to demand proof, not personal opinion, from others to back up their statements.

No need to respond, because I really don't want to get into a long-winded back-and-forth as you and Justin did.

And Andrea, Maker's Mark? Really?? Next time you come to Utah I'll treat you to either American Prairie or Son of Bourye, two delicious bourbons made by our very own High West Distillery!

You want the sick and uninsure to wait another year?

Lancelot - You apparently don't know what the personal mandate is. It forces people who DONT WANT insurance to buy it. It has nothing to do with the "sick and unisured".

You missed the part where GOP wants to repeal medical device tax...wanna defend that point too?

That wasn't part of the demand for the CR, but yes I would want to repeal that. Why would you want to make the cost of healthcare higher?

Dahkota - One of the two conditions the Republicans asked for to pass the CR was that Congress get healthcare coverage on the same basis as the individual public. No special deals, no special subsidies. Pretty simple.