Overzealous shutdown tactics
From the mountains to the sea, the federal government keeps working hard to make sure you don’t have a good time.
Last week we reported that the privately owned Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville planned to defy an order by the National Park Service that it expel its guests and close its doors at the height of the fall color change in Pisgah National Forest.
That lasted about 24 hours.
On Friday park ranger vehicles, lights flashing, blocked entrances to the inn’s parking areas on ground leased from the federal government, and ordered the inn to close, throwing 100 employees out of their jobs. Since they are not federal employees they will not get deferred pay when the government shutdown ends.
The inn, which was fully booked for October, will refund deposits made often months in advance by tourists wanting to see the fall colors, USA Today reported.
As Kathleen Parker noted on our opinion page Tuesday, the order to shut down federal parks and monuments came from the White House budget office.
The National Park Service helpfully pointed out in a press release that communities near national parks will lose $76 million a day in sales during the shutdown.
It is an odd sort of shutdown indeed when the government has the manpower and money to issue press releases but won’t allow concessionaires, who pay it rent, to keep their doors open.
Among those made to suffer from the administration‘s overly zealous shutdown orders are fishing charter boat operators in South Florida. One captain told the Washington Examiner that the government was killing his business at peak fishing season because most of the ocean waters around South Florida are part of Biscayne National Park or Everglades National Park. Farther south is Dry Tortugas National Park.
On Oct. 1 the National Park Service notified tour and fishing boat operators that “after today, you may not offer any services within [park] boundaries until further notice. We regret the burden that this will place on your livelihood. We will notify you when the park is reopened.”
Homeowners along Nevada’s Lake Mead are being evicted because their vacation cottages are located on leased federal property, Las Vegas television station KTNV reported.
Ralph Spencer, 80, and his wife, Joyce, 77, were given 24 hours by officials at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area to vacate the site.
“I had to be sure and get his walker and his scooter,” Mrs. Spencer said.
Meanwhile, roadside scenic overlooks maintained by the Park Service also are being closed, according to news reports.
Like the closure of the war memorials and monuments on the Washington Mall, these closures could have easily been forgone. Federal manpower isn’t required to maintain these operations, but instead the enjoyment and income of private citizens are diminished.
This mean-spirited approach to the shutdown may be intended by the president to bring pressure on House Republicans with whom he refuses to negotiate.
But it could backfire and give Uncle Sam himself a bad name.
Call him Uncle Slam.