The Times West Virginian

Z_CNHI News Service

October 15, 2013

EDITORIALS: Government's true colors; A graying population

Park service shows government's true colors during shutdown

(The Daily Citizen / Dalton, Ga.)

If you’d asked Americans a couple of weeks ago to name their most hated federal agency, we doubt that the National Park Service would be high on the list. Today, many Americans rightly see many park service employees as a group of thugs.

At a time when executive branch employees, or public servants as many think of themselves, should be doing their best to make the federal government shutdown as painless as possible for American citizens, they seem instead to be going out of their way to make it even more painful. And the park service seems to be the most zealous in its efforts to hurt the people it’s supposed to serve.

Park service employees locked a group of elderly tourists in their hotel at Yellowstone National Park when the park closed, lest they “recreate” before they could be removed. They’ve closed off open-air venues typically open 24 hours a day, such as the National Mall, and forced out citizens, including groups of veterans, who dared to think they could enjoy the attractions their tax dollars paid for. They’ve closed off the entire Florida Bay, some 1,200 square miles of ocean, to charter boats and fishing. 

They’ve forced private businesses on park service property to close, and run people out of homes they own inside national parks. They tried to close the privately owned and operated Mount Vernon by blocking off a jointly owned parking lot. They’ve removed the handles off of water fountains in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Park to keep people from getting a drink. They’ve even tried to close roadside pull-off points outside the Mount Rushmore National Memorial to keep people from taking photographs of the massive sculpture.

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