Shutdown Watch: Civil Disobedience on Federal Lands

It was clear from the first day that "government shutdown" would not mean "government getting out of the way"; if anything, the feds seem more intent on laying claim to the tasks and territories that they've monopolized. But not every American is playing along, The Washington Times reports:

Power to the people, right on.Taking their lead from the veterans who first pushed through the barricades to visit the World War II Memorial, Americans nationwide are defying the federal government shutdown, tossing aside traffic cones and toppling wooden fences to get to national parks and other federal lands that the administration has deemed out of bounds.

As the shutdown hits the middle of its second week, civil disobedience has become a sensation. Some proudly post online photos of themselves overcoming the government’s obstacles, and others use more subtle ways to make their point.

In Arizona, one road-stop inn is quietly giving visitors directions on how to use Forest Service roads to get a glimpse of the Grand Canyon, a national park that has been shut down.

In Washington, D.C., a South Carolina man said he has spent the past week picking up trash around the shuttered Lincoln Memorial, taking the place of National Park Service employees who have been furloughed.

In Massachusetts, Minuteman National Park is closed, but that hasn't stopped the leaf-peepers from crossing the barricades to watch as autumn blooms in the Northeast.

Some federal employees seem sympathetic: At that Massachusetts park, the authorities are "turning a blind eye to illegally parked cars and folks on the walking trails." In Arizona, on the other hand, "nearly two dozen people have been cited for entering Grand Canyon National Park during the shutdown."

And in D.C., the Bill of Rights is serving, yet again, as a limit on the government's power:

Your trump card is no match for a policeman's gun.there is an opening—figuratively and literally—that visitors can use to gain access through the gate commemorating the Pacific theater.

Rangers told visitors Wednesday that they could not deny entry to anyone who wanted to exercise First Amendment rights, and could not interrogate visitors, which effectively means the monument is open to those aware of the loophole.

"The First Amendment trumps all," a Park Service ranger told visitors.

The exemption applies to monuments on the Mall, though visitors are not allowed inside the chambers of the Lincoln or Jefferson memorials because congregating there to exercise First Amendment rights is prohibited under Park Service regulations.

Oh: So apparently it doesn't trump all. But it's a help.

Update: A reader calling him/herself Bardas Phocas passes along a funny photoessay in Buzzfeed. Best line: "Just look at these Americans desecrating MLK's legacy through nonviolent protest of government barricades." 

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  • Pro Libertate||

    So, will this get coverage like the Stupefy Movement did?

  • Paul.||

    By 'stupefy movement', are you talking about the Pro-government pep rally known as the Occupy movement?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I am. Another time the media tried to make something fake look real.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    I was shocked to see this on Buzzfeed:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyj.....ments-dema

  • Pro Libertate||

    See? The administration isn't coming out of this unscathed.

  • anon||

    I'm pretty glad to see Americans can still recognize bullshit when they see it, in general.

  • Sevo||

    'I'm pretty glad to see *one or two* Americans can still recognize bullshit when they see it'

    More in line with my experience.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I posted that link before you did, Bardas. Where's *my* h/t?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    hat tips are for closers

  • ||

    A reader calling him/herself Bardas Phocas

    Has Walker been informed that there are no libertarian women?

  • Bardas Phocas||

    My junk is not the issue.

  • Juice||

    The flaming sword is the 2nd Division memorial (from WWI). The "WWI Memorial" is tucked away under some trees near the mall.

  • Floridian||

    Anyone else planning to take a trip to a closed park this weekend? I need to look up what they closed here to see if anything is nearby.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    If I do, it won't be via the "move cones out of the way and go in" route, but the route that I take every time I visit the Big South Fork: via various park service roads in the middle of nowhere.

    I have never seen anyone in this part of the park ever. No rangers. No other hikers or hunters. I'll be hunting.

  • waffles||

    the most dangerous game?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Nope. Just deer. With my bow.

  • Agammamon||

    Seems you're missing out on an opportunity here - with the government shutdown there's nothing stopping you from kidnapping a couple of hobos and dropping them off in the woods for some fun.

  • Agammamon||

    I'm thinking of heading up to the Grand Canyon, maybe next weekend (if the roving bandit gangs aren't too fierce).

  • Lyle||

    Please do this. And take some pictures or video. Liberty!

  • anon||

    Man, that second pic really sums up the past 2 presidencies.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why do you want the terrorists to win?

  • anon||

    If we're to become a police state, maybe terrorists winning isn't so bad.

  • sarcasmic||

    Police states are the the logical conclusion of all governments. That ratchet only goes one way.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Actually, enough force can break it and allow it to go either direction.

  • Juice||

    Only the past 2?

  • sarcasmic||

    Post 9/11 has been rough on the Bill of Rights.

  • Paul.||

    In Massachusetts, Minuteman National Park is closed, but that hasn't stopped the leaf-peepers from crossing the barricades to watch as autumn blooms in the Northeast.

    Not to sound cliche, but to sound cliche, Thomas Jefferson would be spinning in his grave if he knew that it would require federal intervention to allow people to look at leaves.

  • UnCivilServant||

    Renewable energy - attach magnets to the corpses of the founding fathers and use them to generate electricity through totalitarianism!

  • tarran||

    It's worse than that.

    Guess how we honor Thoreau of "On Civil Disobedience" fame?

    By building a state park to him that never mentions why he lived in that shack.

    Part of me wants to start a grass-roots campaign to ban the reenactments of the battles of Concord and Lexington (on the grounds they promote and glorify gun-violence) to see how receptive the fellow citizens of this blinkered state would be to the cockamamy idea. My big fear is that I might succeed! Then it wouldn't be funny.

  • John||

    Why didn't it mention the reason he moved out there? Does mentioning that detract from the bullshit environmental propaganda ?

  • tarran||

    The only book they mention is Walden.

    BTW, the pond is lovely and quite enjoyable to go swimming in.

  • Paul.||

    BTW, the pond is lovely and quite enjoyable to go swimming in.

    Is that allowed? Or frowned upon?

  • Aloysious||

    Nice alt-text.

  • ||

    Have you seen the zoo kid picture? I LOL'd so hard.

  • Paul.||

    Photoshopped. Had it been real, there'd have been an armored SWAT team taking him down.

  • Tamfang||

    Why? So long as the kid is outside the fence, the picture supports the official "budget cuts make baby Jesus cry" narrative.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is interesting to see what can be garnered from 'reading between the lines' of various reports.

    First, it is clear that in many cases these areas do not have large numbers of guards posted keeping people out as many reports seemed to suggest. Seemingly in most cases something like cones, barricades or signs have simply been put up. This is not unreasonable since there are concerns about legal liability connected to public use of the property when it is not being supervised and maintained.

    Second, it is clear that even in the 'open air memorials' that maintenance of the areas has been reduced or discontinued (see the article about the volunteer picking up the trash). This is another reason to bar people from visiting them.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    that maintenance of the areas has been reduced or discontinued (see the article about the volunteer picking up the trash). This is another reason to bar people from visiting them.

    Yes, the presernce of volunteers picking up the trash is a clear argument for closing the areas. God help us if volunteers do maintenance work on public memorials. That might suggest that we don't need to pay government employees to do that work.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The parks should be privatized in my opinion.

    As to your point, I was not arguing the work of volunteers is an argument for closing them, just noting that it demonstrates that there is some effort that goes into the maintenance of these areas. With that discontinued it makes some sense to try to keep people out. A private owner of land in the same circumstance would probably do the same thing.

  • John Jay.||

    A private landowner is at much greater risk of being sued into oblivion if someone is injured or killed on their land.*

    *I spent five minutes trying to figure out if and when the government can be sued if something happens in a federal park, but I got nowhere and I really don't have time to dive further into that right now. But in any event, it's not like it's their money they'd be losing.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -But in any event, it's not like it's their money they'd be losing.

    That is right, it is our money, so in that sense if barring entrance reduces the potential for such liability I am not sure it is a bad thing.

  • Drake||

    Does mowing the grass and having a Park Ranger in the same zip code increase safety that much?

    Or, maybe we should just permanently close the parks - for our own safety.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Not mowing the grass could decrease safety. I read a case yesterday where a private organization ran a soccer camp on NPS land. A child fell and hurt themselves and their parents sued the NPS saying the private organization, which was working with a NPS agreement to use and maintain the property, did not keep the field safe.

    The lawsuit was dismissed in that case, but the liability was theoretically there.

  • Agammamon||

    What about when the government chases of a volunteer trying to mow the grass around a monument?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Do they routinely mow the grass in the grand canyon or Yellowstone (pre-shutdown)?

    If not- they are actively decreasing safety!

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yes, the presernce of volunteers picking up the trash is a clear argument for closing the areas.

    They haven't been properly trained to pick up that empty beer bottle

  • creech||

    Yes, most of the cannon painting, monument scrubbing, etc. at Gettysburg has always been done by volunteers. Word is that hundreds at G-burg are defying the shutdown,and Rangers are worried about vandalism but keeping dozens of Licensed Battlefield Guides
    (not paid by Feds) off the battlefield when their eyes could be most valuable in spotting said vandalism.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Has the KKK done its Gettysburg rally yet? I hear it was cancelled. So much for 1st Amendment activity.

  • Lyle||

    They did it on city property apparently and not Federal property.

    I think they should have been able to do on Federal property. They should sue maybe, although I'm not an expert.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If you owned a piece of property where you invited the public to regularly come onto it, and you had to close down supervision of it temporarily, would you still invite people onto it? If volunteers worked on the property, would you allow them on it while you discontinued supervising and maintaining it?

    It seems that many libertarians want to get behind the GOP bus and push when it comes to their recent campaign. I can somewhat understand that given I too agree with their state goals in this case. But we have been thrown under that bus too many times for me to feel like I am duty bound to buy their rhetoric on this uncritically. The problem is not closing these places down as the GOP is stating, it is that these places are publicly run with yours and my confiscated tax dollars to being with. If they were private concerns they would not be political footballs to be used in the never ending Team Red-Blue game.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Invite? Invite?

    That property doesn't belong to the government. It belongs to every person living in this country. FUCK them shutting down MY property. I pay them to manage it. They do as we tell them, not the other way around. If they decide to strike, fine, so be it, but they don't get to tell me I can't be on my own property.

    If factory workers go on strike, do the strikers tell the property owner he can't use his own shit?

    That's what's wrong with this fucking country. Everyone's forgotten who's in fucking charge here!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    We live in a Republic with an Executive branch. What can I say?

  • ||

    And that executive is elected. They still fucking work for us.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    That property doesn't belong to the government. It belongs to every person living in this country. FUCK them shutting down MY property. I pay them to manage it.

    Nail. Head.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Here is what we as libertarians should be pushing:

    Have these parks and monuments privatized, perhaps to groups run like the Nature Conservancy, which buys lands with donations and those who contribute donations get membership rights which allow them to go on such lands. Then give every American a reduction in federal taxes proportionate to what were the costs of the Park Service, and those who wish can use that money to donate to the organization and visit on their terms.

    Problem solved.

  • Agammamon||

    Great, and while we're at it - no support for gay marriage. Instead we'll push for the abolishment of secular marriage and its entitlements.

    Problem solved (in about a hundred years with no incremental improvements in the meantime).

  • Agammamon||

    Great, and while we're at it - no support for gay marriage. Instead we'll push for the abolishment of secular marriage and its entitlements.

    Problem solved (in about a hundred years with no incremental improvements in the meantime).

  • Agammamon||

    "If you owned a piece of property where you invited the public to regularly come onto it, and you had to close down supervision of it temporarily, would you still invite people onto it?"

    Bo, a huge chunk of the stuff being closed off has no more than nominal federal supervision - its 'supervised' *on paper*, not in real life.

    They are closing stuff that is operated by private companies, paying money *into* the treasury, *and* who supervise the sites themselves.

    There is, for example, absolutely no reason to close off Mount Vernon - its privately owned and operated and yet the NPS closed down their *parking lot* because, technically, the NPS 'supervises' it.

    Warren Meyer runs 'Coyote Blog' where he talks about his business managing recreational facilities in state and federal parks - his stuff is being closed down even though he has full-time staff to manage his sites *and* sees NPS staff, like, once a year.

    Stop making excuses for this shit.

  • Lyle||

    Amen on the battlefield guides being around to spot vandalism.

  • SForza||

    "This is another reason to bar people from visiting them."

    I agree with you completely, Bo. Any space that doesn't have government-provided maid service must be shut down immediately; you can't expect free citizens to pick up after themselves. If your office doesn't have govt maid service, you can't go into work today-- it would be unsafe. And if your home doesn't have a govt cleaning & maintenance service, we'd best condemn it & remove you from the premises... for your own good, of course.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    People often do not pick up after themselves in public spaces. The Soviet Union learned that the hard way. That is why most spaces should be private.

  • sarcasmic||

  • Tamfang||

    Or at least on their numbers.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's all nonsense, anyway. Why make such a big deal of closing consumer-facing places like this? Why shut down private operations on public land? It's all theater and obviously so.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There are potential liability issues for the federal government through such private concerns, even when they are largely not directly supervised by the federal government.

    Check out Ducey v. United States, a 9th circuit decision allowing a lawsuit by widows of recreational users of a NPS site on Lake Mead. The users were killed when a flash flood occurred and the suit alleged the Park Service was liable because they took no action to warn and deal with the flash flood. A private concern was at the site, it was in fact the only concern the users actually did business with, and the Court said the private concern could be liable and, more importantly, that the NPS could be liable through the private concern even though it effectively did not supervise them much at all.

  • Zeb||

    Put up a big sign that says "enter at your own risk" and "vandals will be shot". Problem solved.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Assumption of the risk has been largely whittled away in many jurisdictions. People cannot be treated like responsible adults, you know.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, I know. But that's how it should work. There is so much stupid bullshit that goes on because of how liability is treated here.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If there is one thing I took from my Torts class last year it is that our legal system once treated people like responsible adults, but that was long ago. Now if you have resources (you own land or a business) you are extra responsible and if you are a customer or user of others lands you are much less so.

  • SForza||

    You took Torts last year? So you're not even an Esquire, you're a 2L? And you accuse Nabisco of false advertising ("Double Stuf").

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is a 'handle.' I imagine CampinginyourPark is not, in fact, camping in mine or your park.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's federal law on federal property, I imagine.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You would think so, but I actually looked this up when the shutdown stories started coming out and federal law allows state legislation of the areas involved (called recreational land use statutes which limit liability) to largely control.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Apropos of nothing, I got a federal speeding ticket in the Smokies. Weird. It was actually much, much cheaper than it would've been in Tennessee or North Carolina.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There was actually a fascinating federal Circuit Court case last year out of Michigan (I think) where a man drove onto a federal park and killed a woman he had kidnapped there by drowning her in a lake. He was prosecuted in federal court where the death penalty was an option, in Michigan it was not. He tried to argue that the jury should be told, as a mitigating factor, that if he had committed the crime 200 yards away the death penalty would not have been available. We discussed it in Crim Law last year. Lesson: if you are going to kill someone, be aware of who owns the property where you commit the deed!

  • Adam330||

    The Government would almost certainly be immune in these cases under either the discretionary function or fiscal operations exemptions.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -almost certainly

    What lawyer in his right mind would tell a client to go ahead and not do something relatively easy to do that could put him at risk of liability because such lawsuits 'usually' lose?

    This is like an estate lawyer telling someone 'hey, no need to make a will, because you almost certainly will not die anytime soon!'

  • sarcasmic||

    It's all theater and obviously so.

    Yep. In the article about the guy who was cleaning up the memorial, the cops who told him to piss off said that they just want things to be in disarray so people will pressure their Congressmen to end the shutdown, ultimately so they'll get paid. All federal workers care about is regular paychecks and a pension.

  • Snark Plissken||

    My wife, who grew up in a communist country, was amazed at how much better Americans treat public space like national parks first time we were stateside.

  • Lyle||

    Aren't they more susceptible to vandalism while closed though? There will be fewer people to see what is going on inside the open-air memorials if they are in closed.

    What the green paint lady did at the Lincoln Memorial recently was reported by a concerned citizen.

  • Zeb||

    Yep. Most people don't want to see monuments and parks vandalized. And there are still police.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's true.

    The liability argument is profoundly weak, considering what goes on in national parks when they are "open." I've been on marked trails that were pretty hairy. Whether there's a ranger five miles away really doesn't matter.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    This is not unreasonable since there are concerns about legal liability connected to public use of the property when it is not being supervised and maintained.

    You mean like National Forests, National Grasslands and BLM property?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Are National Forests not supervised and maintained? When I visit them I see Rangers and other NPS staff there.

  • Zeb||

    For the most part they are not. The visitors centers and stuff are, but the thousands of acres of forest are not. National forests aren't closed anyway. And the NPS doesn't manage them. National forests are under Dept. of Agriculture and Parks are Interior.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Oh you do, do you? I use the NFs several days a week. I see a Fed maybe once a year.

    And they aren't closed. People come and go as they please, pick up after themselves, hunt, fish, hike, camp... without some fucking nanny looking over their shoulder to make sure "they are obeying the rules" and "not endangering themselves".

  • Virginian||

    Oh you do, do you? I use the NFs several days a week. I see a Fed maybe once a year.

    Haha beat me to it. Though I don't get out there as often as you, I did find his claim about seeing feds at NFs funny.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -I did find his claim about seeing feds at NFs funny.

    Did you find this as funny?

    -I see a Fed maybe once a year.

    Heck, you even cut and pasted that comment into yours!

  • Virginian||

    Oh go eat a dick troll. You fucking said

    Are National Forests not supervised and maintained? When I visit them I see Rangers and other NPS staff there.

    When in reality, NFs are very much unsupervised, compared to the fucking NPs which now have wheelchair ramps and swarming numbers of feds and tourists. Which is fine, mind you, but the NFs are definetly a wilder alternative to the NPs.

    I know my time in the Shenandoah NP is much less wild and free then my time in the GW NF.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -NFs are very much unsupervised, compared to

    You are putting a lot of weight on your qualifier there.

    -Oh go eat a dick troll.

    Why would I eat your lunch?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So you have seen Feds there, as I said?

    Of course they are not omnipresent, but they do supervise and maintain them. What do you think the over 30,000 employees of the Forest Service do, sit in an office in DC and play cards (well, some of them undoubtedly do that)?

  • SForza||

    What a well-structured, empty mind you have, Bo.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    How could I possibly rebut the well structure, mindful argument you have presented here?

    I have clearly upset you. My apologies, it was not my intent.

  • Zeb||

    And the USFS doesn't get sued when someone gets lost or dies in a national forest, which happens a lot.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I can imagine circumstances that would lead to a lawsuit if someone died or got lost in a National Forest (after all, I've pointed to several lawsuits here before against the NPS for that kind of thing happening on National Parks property, I do not see why the National Forests would be exempt).

  • Zeb||

    Probably something to do with the fact that the national forests are not represented as safe, accessible attractions (for the most part). They are just forests that people can use. Forests are dangerous places.

  • Adam330||

    And I can imagine circumstances where that suit would be quickly dismissed.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Sure, but not all of them. The NPS has been successfully sued by people injured on NPS lands.

  • SForza||

    "I can imagine circumstances that would lead to a lawsuit"

    Yes, you can. You can imagine a lot of things.

  • Agammamon||

    Wait, wait - you've pointed out *lawsuits*. That means pretty much nothing. *I* could file a suit against you because I don't like the nose on your face, doesn't mean I will win - but I could get the suit in court at least long enough to get a preliminary hearing in front of a judge.

    Same here - just because someone sued the NPS, doesn't mean that suit had merit, even taking in consideration the large percentage that are thrown out on sovereign immunity grounds.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    See the case I cited, supra. Also, for a recent victorious lawsuit against the NPS go here:

    http://www.nydailynews.com/new.....-1.1295659

  • Agammamon||

    I know the spot on BLM land where we race isn't 'supervised' any more than what is necessary for cops to come by and give DUI tickets.

    We run bikes and quads, alongside full-sized Jeeps and trucks. There's tons of drinking and no toilets of any kind.

    People break bones occasionally and at least two have been killed in accidents out here in the last 5 years.

    *and* its about a quarter-mile away from the area the locals use to do target shooting - also completely unsupervised *and* no *government* employees clean either area up. Its us users who do that, cleaning up after ourselves and periodically cleaning up the trash that arseholes leave behind.

    I'm not sure how much more dangerous or dirty it could get now that the government is 'shutdown'.

  • Sevo||

    "First, it is clear that in many cases these areas do not have large numbers of guards posted keeping people out as many reports seemed to suggest"

    You can still drive through Zion NP, since the thugs can't close Hwy 9, but if you stop to look or take pictures, you're get ticketed by the (small number of) thugs.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "First, it is clear that in many cases these areas do not have large numbers of guards posted keeping people out as many reports seemed to suggest. Seemingly in most cases something like cones, barricades or signs have simply been put up"

    You continue to mischaracterize people's objections to these actions by the Fed. Gov't. I don't understand why you continue to be so obtuse about this subject.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    People have not been complaining that the administration is spending more money putting up guards barring entrance to these areas than they could be saving?

  • ||

    People have been complaining that they are barring entrance in the first place. The fact that they're "using money they don't have" is besides the point. (Well maybe parallel to the point.)

  • Agammamon||

    There's no real concern for legal liability - the federal government gets to decide who can and can't sue it in the first place.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    And they have allowed suit of the NPS.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Seemingly in most cases something like cones, barricades or signs have simply been put up. This is not unreasonable since there are concerns about legal liability connected to public use of the property when it is not being supervised and maintained.

    Ever heard of sovereign immunity, Bo?

  • John||

    I didn't know the Park Service sucks as bad as it does. Get this from 2005 when they let the mask slip about what they would really like to do to the mall

    The Park Service’s ultimate desire was made public, indiscreetly, by John Parsons, associate regional park director for the mall. In 2000 Parsons told the Washington Post he hoped that eventually all unauthorized traffic, whether by foot or private car, would be moved off the mall. Visitors could park in distant satellite lots and be bused to nodal points, where they would be watered and fed, allowed to tour a monument, and then reboard a bus and head for another monument. “Just like at Disneyland,” Parsons told the Post. “Nobody drives through Disneyland. They’re not allowed. And we’ve got the better theme park.”

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....62277.html

    They are just assholes.

  • Lyle||

    Most probably aren't, but the political ones in charge probably are.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    They should be run like Disneyland, that is by private concerns who would have an incentive to cater to those who want to frequent them. Of course that is not what he had in mind.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I agree. I mean, Disney should be running the Mall.

  • Loki||

    Visitors could park in distant satellite lots and be bused to nodal points, where they would be watered and fed

    Like the mindless animals they are...

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I haven't set foot in a National Park in 15 years. Their rules/regulations made them unbearable. This only reaffirms their statist tendencies.

    If I want to commune with nature, I'll go to a National Forest where you're, by and large, left alone.

    The NPS has ALWAYS sucked!

  • Zeb||

    The only times I've gone to national parks was in the off season and I had no interaction at all with any NPS staff. At the parks in Alaska, it was great. There wasn't much snow yet in the valleys and you could drive to places in the park that were off limits to private cars in the summer. The parks there are different too, because you are generally allowed to go pretty much anywhere on foot (though not to many do because Alaska is a giant swamp full of bears and moose).

  • John||

    The gun ban made some of them downright dangerous to visit. You shouldn't go into bear or big cat country without a firearm. I haven't been to one in a long time. Big Bend National Park. But that is a very remote and under visited one.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I was, literally, IN Big Bend the last time the government shut down.

    Stayed for three nights, no one made us leave or prevented entrance.

    No one died.
    Nothing terrible happened.
    No one got sued.

    We had fun, and left. (the horror of being responsible for ourselves)

  • Paul.||

    No one died.
    Nothing terrible happened.
    No one got sued.

    This is precisely why the parks should be closed. You proved how unnecessary the NPS is.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Couldn't agree more. Leave them open access and be done with it. I don't need a government gift shop, a fenced in parking lot and paved walking paths to go see Old Faithful.

  • Paul.||

    And we’ve got the better theme park.”

    No, no you don't.

    And as if I have to point out the obvious. I don't own disneyland, but I own the fuck out of the Mall-- -I hold the fucking deed on it, and you're my employ-fucking-ee. Sit down over there, shut up, put your hands between your knees and speak when spoken to.

  • ||

    Oh I disagree.

    The Mall is definitely the better theme park. If the theme is worship of the state.

  • SugarFree||

    A full time NPS employee averages 130K in salary and benefits. (2.2B for 16,500 personnel.) They manage to spend the rest of their 3.6B budget on promoting the use of NPS parks and the money fires.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Those stats are skewed, SF. The average may be $130k, but I'd bet that goes to administrators and paper pushers. Entry level is about $30k ($15/hour * 40 * 50) plus generous bennies. Even seasoned rangers (who aren't administrators) are making less than $50k.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    First, it is clear that in many cases these areas do not have large numbers of guards posted keeping people out as many reports seemed to suggest. Seemingly in most cases something like cones, barricades or signs have simply been put up. This is not unreasonable since there are concerns about legal liability connected to public use of the property when it is not being supervised and maintained.

    You're pathetic.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well argued. My rebuttal will attempt to be just as masterful:

    No, I am not.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    You're lying about the nature of the barriers, lying about legal liability, and so on. It's hard to argue against someone who's making shit up left and right. Not to mention tiresome and pointless.

    Where it's been practical to erect wired-together fences and station guards to keep people out, they've done so. The cones are for Mt Rushmore and Grand Canyon and the like, where the area is too big to quickly build a fence or station guards. They would if they could.

  • ||

    He's actually making an interesting point about an unspoken compromise. By putting up the cones but not really enforcing them, the Park Service is allowing people to use the space but denying liability for the people who are in said space "illegally". This is a good thing, no?

    Or am I misreading his argument?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Yes. His argument is, between the lines, that the government really isn't trying to make this painful and we should all be thankful.

  • Lyle||

    Ha.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    No, I am sure there is some pettiness in some of the shutdown, but a lot of it is uncritically, and sloppily, assumed and will not stand up to scrutiny.

    The GOP's stance is a bizarre one for libertarians to get behind since it is essentially 'these federally run parks are really important to people, how dare the administration close them!' I think the parks and such should be completely privatized, then no one who likes them would have to worry about them being closed by any government.

  • Virginian||

    No, you fucking tool, their stance is that if the government is shut down, then taking the affirmative action of putting up barriers in front of open air monuments is simply political theater.

    Closing the National Zoo because operating it costs money. Thus that is a legitimate government shutdown consequence. Putting up barriers in front of the WWII Memorial is bullshit political theater, because it's nothing but an open marble courtyard. There are no doors, gates, ticket booths, or staff. I have personally visited it at 2AM.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is not just the affirmative actions the GOP is complaining about, notice they passed a bill to fund the parks and monuments operations.

    It is highly ironic for you to repeatedly refer to me as a 'tool' because I will not uncritically accept Team Red's rhetoric on the shutdown as you do.

  • ||

    I don't know that Virginian is on target for the GOP party line (though I have no doubt that some Rs see it that way), but he's certainly right about how libertarians are interpreting it. Both camps can be annoyed with NPS behavior and have overlapping but distinct reasons for that annoyance.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The GOP line has been 'these federal parks and monuments are very important to the country and they did not need to be shut down.' It seems to me the libertarian line must be something quite different: 'these federal parks and monuments should not exist in the first place.'

    Of course the Dem line is the GOP line, plus Obamacare, which is obviously worse. But that does not make the GOP line any more libertarian than it is.

  • ||

    The GOP line has been 'these federal parks and monuments are very important to the country and they did not need to be shut down.'

    It's disingenuous to argue that that's what people are arguing here. If we're going to have public lands the government shouldn't be able to shut citizens out of those lands as part of political theater because the citizens own those lands. As Virginian points out closing the zoo because running it costs money is reasonable as a consequence of the shutdown. Putting up barricades to keep people off of open air lands comes across as petty.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I can see that, but for the reasons I have gone on about here likely too much I think those seemingly petty actions can in large part be defended for legal reasons.

    I understand it is the perceived proactive steps taken that is most people's problem, but I do not see how complaining about all the people harmed by steps shutting down federal parks and monuments cannot help but come off to the general public as: 'federally operated parks and monuments are really important' (especially when conservatives and the GOP are shouting this exact message from the rooftops).

  • ||

    Except they can't be defended on legal reasons as evidenced by the fucking volunteers picking up litter, mowing lawns, and the small fact that the fedgov gets to decide who can sue them.

    So no, they are absolutely just petty bullshit.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The parks and monuments are important. Federal operation of them, not so much.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's not Team Red's rhetoric. It's a libertarian position to be against being proactively fucked with.

  • Adam330||

    They were enforcing them for the first day or two, but then they got called out and stopped.

  • Agammamon||

    *If* that was what the NPS was doing, I would applaud them.

    Unfortunately their rangers *aren't* turning a blind eye - people are getting tickets for pulling over onto the shoulder to take pictures off highways running through these parks, for example.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    ...and then arresting people who cross the cone curtain.

    Two words for those who think this is about legal liability: SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY. Look it up.

  • Lyle||

    How can you not exercise your "1st Amendment activities" at Gettysburg National Park, but you can at the D.C. memorials? What is the difference?

    So jihad joggers can get away with it at the Lincoln Memorial, but they can't get away with it at Valley Forge?

    Should there be a lawsuit?

  • Rich||

    Moreover, WTF are "1st Amendment activities" anyway?

    If I jump the barricade and say "America is great!" does that count?

  • Lyle||

    I think so.

  • Zeb||

    Peacefully assembling, publishing things, exercising your religion and talking. I'm pretty sure most people are doing at least one of those things most of the time.

  • Rich||

    My point exactly.

  • Paul.||

    If I jump the barricade and say "America is great!" does that count?

    I jump the barricade with my 11-yr-o daughter and then give her a speech about how our government has gone off the rails as it relates to its 'enumerated powers'.

  • Agammamon||

    You have to *keep* talking. Its like a filibuster - once you stop its over.

  • Lyle||

    Ha.

  • Virginian||

    Visibility. Gettysburg is flyover country, DC is where the Important People live.

    Hell, I heard they've got armed park rangers guarding the access points to the Grand Canyon.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I have to say I had not heard of a planned KKK rally at Gettysburg. It seems like an odd choice for such a rally. Does anyone know why they chose Gettysburg?

  • Lyle||

    Does it really matter why they chose Gettysburg?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Just curious. Gettysburg was the site of one of the Confederacy's worst defeats. Seems like an odd site for a KKK rally to me, but then again I have never claimed to understand the motivations and thinking of Klansmen.

  • Virginian||

    There's a lot you don't understand.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Yes, as I said, I do not understand the thinking of Klansmen. I guess you understand that better than I, eh?

  • db||

    Southern Pennsylvania.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I propose a million man march on the gates of the Grand Canyon.

  • db||

    Make sure you bring water.

  • Lyle||

    Let the "1st Amendment activities" anarchy begin!

  • Paul.||

    That seems hard.

  • John||

    The liability thing is such a load of shit. The government gets sued for a living. The legal risk here is minuscule. Liability risk is just fed speak for go fuck yourself.

  • Virginian||

    Exactly. The idea that the fucking federal government cares about getting sued is hilarious. Even if they did lose the case, the judgement comes from tax dollars. So why the fuck would they care about getting sued?

  • John||

    And even if they were, unless there is some latent defect in the park, it is going to be nearly impossible to prevail.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Of course it is never easy to win a lawsuit against the federal government in federal courts. But my point is, they have a very reasonable reason they can fall back on here: we should want the government to try to take steps to limit liability (since it is our taxdollars that would defend against and pay for any suit), and these actions can be defended as such steps.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Why not post a sign: "CAUTION - enter at your own risk!!! Due to the SHUTDOWN, the federal government is not responsible for any injury or death that may happen to you at the [Lincoln Memorial/Veterans' Memorial/park, etc.] due to trees falling on you, falling headfirst from Lincoln's lap, slipping on banana peels, getting eaten by bears, or other HORRIBLE THINGS that might happen to you if you venture into this dangerous area."

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Plus, couldn't people legally entering a park for "First Amendment activities" sue if they get eaten by a bear? Do they have less of a right to sue than an average tourist? Yet the 1st Amendment people are allowed in!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I addressed that above, assumption of the risk has largely been neutered.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yeah, but they still allow 1st am activity which is just as risky liability wise.

    And if they defund the court of claims how much good would a suit do?

  • John||

    Not it is not reasonable. That is the whole point. If the liability risk is slight or non existent, it is not reasonable to act on it. If the whole point is to limit risk of liability, you wouldn't ever do anything.

    And moreover, they are not consistently applying this. They are only applying where they think they can cause the most pain. There is no defending this. Do yourself a favor and stop trying. This is not a hill you want to die on.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    With all due respect, you are a lawyer? If you are, are you going to tell me that you do not spend a fair amount of time preparing and counseling clients to act to protect them from potential liability that is unlikely but which could occur?

  • WTF||

    This is not a hill you want to die on.

    I think John under estimates what a dick Bo is. Which is odd given John's experience with the original MNG.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    OK, I will bite. How am I a 'd*ck' to be arguing that there are legal reasons the administration can fall back on in this situation? Has the GOP's rhetoric on the shutdown become part of the NAP or something?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    You are being a dick the same way you are always a dick.

    You are arguing a ridiculous point for the sake of arguing.

    You are making a case for the administration shutting down access based upon liability. I can make a case for shutting down public sidewalks based upon liability...but it doesn't make it a good one.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is not just some argument I am making up. Experts on this type of law have offered this conclusion (see here: www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics.....arricaded/). Past cases, which I have cited, support it. It is a totally reasonable claim sitting there for the administration to use.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't think you're a dick, but I think you're making certain wrong assumptions. You're assuming the administration is motivated by liability concerns.

    Suppose a hypothetical administration, which wanted to close federal property due to good-faith liability concerns, not a desire for political theater. Such an administration would ban all public use of these properties. It wouldn't allow an exception for protesters, because a protester is just as likely as a normal tourist to get hit in the head with a falling tree. If as you say assumption of risk has been abolished in these circumstances, such an administration would try to prevent people from ignoring the warning signs and going onto federal property. If it didn't have the budget to block people, and as a result incurred liability risks, such an administration would say so publicly and ask for a special appropriation for the necessary guards, or for a special law to limit liability in these situations.

    What has the actual administration done? It's created arbitrary exceptions to its rules and it's not showing concern about evicting these trespassers who are one banana peel away from filing expensive liability claims against the government! Almost as if liability wasn't its real concern.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -It wouldn't allow an exception for protesters

    It may have to, under First Amendment law.

    -such an administration would try to prevent people from ignoring the warning signs and going onto federal property

    So first that they guard the places, order people out and ticket them when they disobey is offered as proof it has to be theater, but then the fact that they have not been very aggressive in that is offered for the same?

    -ask for a special appropriation for the necessary guards

    The entire scenario is based on their inability to get appropriations!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So now it seems they can be sued either way - for keeping protesters out or for letting them in! And how do they tell who has a "First Amendment Purpose" and who doesn't? Sounds like grounds for another suit - for enforcing vague rules especially re expressive activities!

    "So first that they guard the places, order people out and ticket them when they disobey is offered as proof it has to be theater, but then the fact that they have not been very aggressive in that is offered for the same?"

    I think it shows that they'd rather back down than have an embarrassing incident broadcast all over the world proving how dumb they are. They probably didn't think too far ahead to the part where people simply disregarded their signs.

    And they managed to find a cop to warn the lawnmower man off the National Mall. That cop wasn't shut down, it would seem. Nor was the cop (same person or different?) who said they were supposed to make things difficult.

    And the aggressive ranger who shooed away that busful of senior citizens from the scenic overlook didn't seem to be limited by the sequester. Not to mention the rangers who stood outside the seniors' hotel to keep them from park sites.

    Don't forget the ranger who told the press they were trying to make things inconvenient.

  • ||

    Because there AREN'T legal reasons the administration can fall back on?

  • Agammamon||

    With all due respect - *you're* not a lawyer either.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    preparing and counseling clients to act to protect them from potential liability that is unlikely but which could occur

    First, what lawyers counsel clients on should not be reason for government actions with respect to parks owned by the people.

    Beyond that however, exactly what can my business do against the potential liability of an asteroid strike?

    Or is it more apt to say, smart lawyers, and people who deal with risk, insure against unlikely events, but only act to prevent/protect themselves against the more likely ones.

    Otherwise - why doesn't every large corporation have at least one swat team and a secret doomsday castle? You know - just in case...

  • Agammamon||

    ITS NOT FUCKING REASONABLE TO FEAR LOSING A LAWSUIT WHEN YOU CAN CHOOSE WHICH SUITS GET HEARD IN THE FIRST PLACE!

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You have shouted this. Now that you feel better, the fact is that the federal government has allowed itself to be sued, and the NPS has been successfully sued before.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The FTCA provides a limited exception to the sovereign immunity of the United States for suits in tort, where an injury is

    caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any employee of the Government while acting within the scope of his office or employment, under circumstances where the United States, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the law of the place where the act or omission occurred.

    28 U.S.C. § 1346(b).

    From Ducey v. US

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Good job with the copy and paste. Now explain how it has anything to do with your argument.

  • Lyle||

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....ling-beard

    Get out to the National Parks this weekend and exercise your First Amendment rights. Power to the people!

  • thorax232||

    Well, it seems some of those Park Rangers are at least a little more reasonable than the average gang mem... I mean police officer.

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