Report: Armed rangers forced senior-citizen tourists to stay inside their hotel during Yellowstone visit because of shutdown

posted at 2:41 pm on October 8, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via Breitbart and Ace, who’s demanding that the National Park Service pay some sort of price for serving as “the shock troops of the punitive bureaucracy” through all of this. I’ve written similar things over the past week, and right now I can’t understand why either of us would bother. They’re not going to pay any price. We all know it. Issa will haul the director and his deputies before the Oversight Committee and they’ll mouth the requisite perfunctory regret and warnings not to judge the whole department by the behavior of a few “overzealous” rangers. Maybe someone will receive a few weeks or months of “administrative leave,” i.e. paid vacation, a la Lois Lerner, but then he’ll be quietly reinstated when no one’s paying attention anymore. News outlets and bloggers will get a few days of content out of it when the hearings are being held and then that’ll be that. Nothing will change. No lessons will be learned. No scalps will be taken. That’s how it goes now. If anything, the White House will be more reluctant to fire someone over this than they were over the IRS scandal because ranger-enforced shutdown theater helps them spread the liberal message that closing the government is an unconscionable hardship.

No one’s going to pay for this. Even if it involves a ranger with a gun warning your grandma to get back in her hotel and away from the scenery.

The bus stopped along a road when a large herd of bison passed nearby, and seniors filed out to take photos. Almost immediately, an armed ranger came by and ordered them to get back in, saying they couldn’t “recreate.” The tour guide, who had paid a $300 fee the day before to bring the group into the park, argued that the seniors weren’t “recreating,” just taking photos.

“She responded and said, ‘Sir, you are recreating,’ and her tone became very aggressive,” Vaillancourt said.

The seniors quickly filed back onboard and the bus went to the Old Faithful Inn, the park’s premier lodge located adjacent to the park’s most famous site, Old Faithful geyser. That was as close as they could get to the famous site — barricades were erected around Old Faithful, and the seniors were locked inside the hotel, where armed rangers stayed at the door.

“They looked like Hulk Hogans, armed. They told us you can’t go outside,” she said. “Some of the Asians who were on the tour said, ‘Oh my God, are we under arrest?’ They felt like they were criminals.”

Supposedly, on their way out of the park, the tour guide wanted to pull over at a dude ranch inside the perimeter so that the seniors onboard could use the restrooms there — but couldn’t, because the park rangers told the dude ranch that its license would be revoked if they permitted it. So unbelievable is all this, even by the standards of NPS behavior over the past week, that I doubted whether it was true. But there’s corroborating evidence for at least some of it: The tour guide was interviewed by a different newspaper a few days ago and accused the Park Service of — wait for it — “Gestapo tactics.”

Hodgson said in a phone interview Monday that a ranger pulled up behind the bus and told him he would have to get everyone back on the bus — recreation in Yellowstone was not allowed.

“She told me you need to return to your hotel and stay there,” Hodgson said. “This is just Gestapo tactics. We paid a lot to get in. All these people wanted to do was take some pictures.”

Hodgson said the ranger told him he could be convicted of trespassing if he disobeyed.

“The national parks belong to the people,” he said. “This isn’t right.”

He didn’t mention armed rangers outside the hotel, but he was told that “his group would not be allowed to walk on any of the boardwalks located just outside their hotel, or visit any other geyser basins in the area.” All they could do, per Hodgson, was eat dinner in the dining room, which squares with the claim that rangers wouldn’t let guests inside leave until they were ready to leave the park altogether. “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can,” said an anonymous ranger to Wesley Pruden last week. Mission accomplished.

The only redress here, I think, is for tourists to sue. They’d probably lose, but it’ll be useful to know as a matter of law that national parks belong to the National Park Service and not to the public. I’m curious as can be to see a judge explain how trespassing laws don’t apply to park visitors who are engaged in “First Amendment activities” but do apply to tourist photography, which, as a somewhat artistic endeavor, would seem to fall pretty squarely within the First Amendment. At the very least, the bad press from the suit would do some much-deserved damage to the agency’s reputation. Which, it seems, they’re increasingly worried about:

Good news. Keep blogging the ugly stuff and maybe there’ll be more.


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perfect argument why feds should not own state land.

dmacleo on October 8, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Definitely.
I would say the only land the feds should have would be military bases, and even then, that land should be leased from the state.

dentarthurdent on October 8, 2013 at 3:56 PM

What we need is a red state governor to step up and claim eminent domain over any “federal” land within their state’s borders. Has anyone seen those maps that show percentage of federal land? Most of the western states are at least 50% “federal”.

Nutstuyu on October 8, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Bishop!!

Nutstuyu on October 8, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Business owners in the Parks should sue for twice their losses when this is over.
To include employees lost wages and benefits.

Hotel1 on October 8, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Id say go for treble (I love that word) damages. I think usually tort cases allow for it, and some states have consumer protection statutes allowing.

Nutstuyu on October 8, 2013 at 7:53 PM

Can we trade our military for Egypt’s? They removed their pos who would be pharaoh.

VorDaj on October 8, 2013 at 7:54 PM

Id say go for treble (I love that word) damages. I think usually tort cases allow for it, and some states have consumer protection statutes allowing.

Nutstuyu on October 8, 2013 at 7:53 PM

I know in Colorado numerous statutes allow for triple, I mean treble (since you like that word) damages. I’ve had to deal with that myself – threatened it against an apartment complex that was illegally trying to keep my security deposit. As soon as I quoted my lease and the law to them and threatened a lawsuit, they wrote a check.

dentarthurdent on October 8, 2013 at 8:03 PM

That’s false imprisonment, somebody should be fired and then prosecuted.

Axion on October 8, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Seems a bus full of people would constitute a class-action too.

Nutstuyu on October 8, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Have we gotten to the step where we report or friends, family, and neighbors for not being loyal to the President?

Murphy9 on October 8, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Did you forget about Attaaaaack Watch!

PXCharon on October 8, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Verbaldouchebaggery you’re just another useful idiot. FU ahole.

CWchangedhisNicagain on October 8, 2013 at 8:17 PM

At what point do”we the people”
TAKE BACK OUR COUNTRY?
This sh*t has to stop!!!!

Neal4007 on October 8, 2013 at 8:19 PM

I though the headline said enforced by Army rangers, but upon reflection I see it is rump rangers of the NPS. Whew that’s a relief.

ConcealedKerry on October 8, 2013 at 8:34 PM

Speaking of Canyons, ……………………………….

Food bank helps furloughed Grand Canyon workers
By FELICIA FONSECA
— Oct. 8 7:59 PM EDT
********************

TUSAYAN, Ariz. (AP) — One hotel worker was called and told not to come to work. Another has seen a slowing pace of rooms needing to be cleaned. And a hotel manager has decided to shut down after renting out one room on what normally would be a busy October night.

Business leaders in Tusayan (too-say-ahn), just outside the Grand Canyon’s South Rim entrance pleaded with the federal government Tuesday to reopen the park that is the lifeline of the tiny town. Meanwhile, an Arizona food bank delivered hundreds of boxes to help out concession and government workers who have been furloughed from their jobs or had their hours cut.

“It’s definitely going to affect my paycheck,” said Louise Mendoza, a hotel room inspector who picked up a box of nonperishable food at the local fire station. “It’s really hard because we have only a few to do every day, and the hours are short.”

The pastor of a church inside the park reached out to Phoenix-based St. Mary’s Food Bank for help after he realized he couldn’t meet the needs of people with donations he distributes out of his garage. The Rev. Patrick Dotson said many of the affected workers live paycheck to paycheck and are struggling to provide food for their families.

“It’s a great turnout,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re really thankful people are coming, the word is spreading and people are getting the help they need.”

About 4.5 million tourists from around the world visit the Grand Canyon each year, pouring an estimated $1.3 million a day into nearby communities. The National Park Service said 2,200 federal and private employees who work in the park are on furlough and that the park will remain closed until the government reopens.

For a brief time Tuesday, about 50 people crowded around the entrance sign to Grand Canyon National Park while helicopters hovered overhead carrying passengers over the massive gorge. Business leaders and community members organized a “fed up with the feds” protest to highlight the economic crisis they said they’re facing.

Few services are available at the Grand Canyon and in Tusayan. The companies in town stake their business on access to the Grand Canyon. Becky Shearer, who manages a lodge in Tusayan, said she kept about 10 employees on during the first week of the shutdown but will be closing the 20-room lodge.

The state highway into Tusayan is now a dead-end street with everyone but park employees and residents of Grand Canyon Village being turned away. Town Council member Craig Sanderson, an air tour pilot, called on Congress to act soon to open the canyon to sightseeing.

“We’re not telling the Park Service how to open it. We’re saying ‘here’s the money, do it,’” he said. “By not opening the park, that tells me it’s political.”

Clarinda Vail, whose family owns businesses and property in Tusayan, called the situation a crisis. She said the community is suffering economic loss resulting from the shutdown and the Obama administration’s refusal to accept offers of private and public money to keep the park open.

Vail said she hopes efforts by Arizona’s U.S. senators, legislative leaders and Gov. Jan Brewer “will change some minds” within the Obama administration.

Brewer and state legislative leaders have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to approve funding for the Arizona park and other national parks.
=======================================

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/food-bank-help-furloughed-grand-canyon-workers

Brewer’s staff previously called Grand Canyon Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga (yoo-bur-AH’-gah) and offered to find a way to pay to keep the park open, but he politely rejected the overture.

“Some feel I can open the gate,” Uberuaga said. “I cannot open the gate. I will not open the gate.”

St. Mary’s trucked the food boxes from Phoenix to the small community of Tusayan, a couple of miles from the South Rim entrance, and then to three locations inside the park for distribution this week. About 60 of the boxes were left at the fire department for local residents who couldn’t get inside the park.

The food bank said it will continue weekly distributions as long as the shutdown lasts.

A grocery store at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim Village is providing a 25 percent discount on food for residents, and concessionaires are supporting their furloughed employees and their families with subsidized rent and some meals, officials said.

The Grand Canyon recently held an employee food drive and distributed the donations at a recreation center within the park.

October is a busy time of year at the park because of the cool weather, with an average 18,000 tourists visiting each day.

The closure hasn’t kept people out completely. Grand Canyon Chief Ranger Bill Wright said nearly two dozen citations have been issued to people for entering closed areas.

Other tourists were driving up to the park’s entrance Tuesday without knowing the roads, campgrounds, lodges, trails, overlooks and entry sites for rafting trips down the Colorado are off-limits to visitors.

The closest they got was the entrance sign marked Grand Canyon National Park.

canopfor on October 8, 2013 at 8:37 PM

A M E R I C A !

KOOLAID2 on October 8, 2013 at 8:47 PM

The fact that there has not been any” serious” pushback to this BS says a lot about how far down the road to serfdom we are. Not to mention that no Catholic priest has crossed the line and been arrested for serving his flock. We are finished and the mulatto whats in charge is loving it. He has overseen the change in the country that he promised. My heart cries that we no longer have any patriots left in this country. I guess I will just have to wait until they come for me and then do the best I can.

retiredeagle on October 8, 2013 at 9:12 PM

So, the NPS rangers forcibly detained some senior citizens?

What legal basis did they have for that? Were they read their rights? Is the government paying for their hotel bills? Food? After all, they are detainees….

HBowmanMD on October 8, 2013 at 9:23 PM

No one’s going to pay for this.

And that’s what will make it even worse when they do pay, the hard way. Years of getting screwed over and ignored by the govt created groups like the EDL in England. There WILL be an outlet to this outrage, and it will be beautiful.

SirGawain on October 8, 2013 at 9:40 PM

It appears the Feds may have forgotten the lesson they should have learned from the Waco/Ok. City debacle….

devan95 on October 8, 2013 at 9:58 PM

It appears the Feds may have forgotten the lesson they should have learned from the Waco/Ok. City debacle….

devan95 on October 8, 2013 at 9:58 PM

It appears to me that they learned it well. “It takes more than that to spark the Right into action.”

PXCharon on October 8, 2013 at 10:03 PM

Just imagine if the commies get single payer and they lock us out of the hospitals when they get mad at us and want to teach us a lesson…..

devan95 on October 8, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Well now I understand why the park ranger at Jewel Cave I spoke to a MONTH ago was so freaked out to me on the phone when we were talking about my educational waiver for a HS field trip that was for this last weekend (which didn’t happen bcs of the crazy storm).
I wondered at the time why this guy was so crazy sounding about the possibility of a shut down. He just sounded way to strange about it.
So now I wonder why the rangers at Yellowstone didn’t warn the tour bus operators the DAY BEFORE about this possibility, like the ranger I spoke to in SD a MONTH before this.
It makes me realize that this administration was ginning up the scare tactics a LONG time ago.
This $hit has been in the works for way longer than we think.

Badger40 on October 8, 2013 at 10:11 PM

What we need is a red state governor to step up and claim eminent domain over any “federal” land within their state’s borders. Has anyone seen those maps that show percentage of federal land? Most of the western states are at least 50% “federal”.

Nutstuyu on October 8, 2013 at 7:46 PM

Utah May Try to Use Eminent Domain to Take Federal Government Land

Utah Power & Light Co. v. United States, a 1917 Supreme Court decision, ruled that the states cannot use eminent domain or other powers to dispose of federally owned land except in so far as Congress permits them to do so.

rukiddingme on October 8, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Supposedly, on their way out of the park, the tour guide wanted to pull over at a dude ranch inside the perimeter so that the seniors onboard could use the restrooms there — but couldn’t, because the park rangers told the dude ranch that its license would be revoked if they permitted it. So unbelievable is all this, even by the standards of NPS behavior over the past week, that I doubted whether it was true. But there’s corroborating evidence for at least some of it: The tour guide was interviewed by a different newspaper a few days ago and accused the Park Service of — wait for it — “Gestapo tactics.”

So even though vetted by both Breitbart and Ace, why would anyone still have trouble believing this?

This is why we are where we are. Too many folks want to bury their heads in the sand or put their hands over their ears and go “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!”

Oh well. There’s always more shows to review and more games coming up, so what the hell, right?

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 8, 2013 at 11:25 PM

All these things happening recently are both trial balloons and ways to test the real-world interplay of fascist power and the people. The fascists are attempting to condition us to new uses of power, to extend the boundaries of our tolerances, to inculcate fear of power and then, as it plays out, gratitude for its suspension. This is the master-slave, supplicant-benefactor syndrome.

Everything they do is about advancing their own power. What they don’t know and want to discover, is how far they can push. The shutdown is an opportunity in more ways than one for the fascists; it’s a great laboratory to practice and refine their fascism.

rrpjr on October 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Yes, it’s like Hitler’s Voyage of the Damned.

The times and places change, but the two constants are cowardice and apathy, which go hand and hand. Most people just want to live their lives with no trouble. They just don’t care enough about anything other than their own survival to join any kind of fight for what’s right. This is what tyrants depend on.

ardenenoch on October 8, 2013 at 11:34 PM

I’m not sure what these seniors had to fear from a few upstart rangers. They needed to be faced down. Let them charge people for “recreating”!

At the very least, can we now agree, as a country, that we should no longer vote for petty dictators and commissars?

virgo on October 9, 2013 at 12:29 AM

All the signs are there.
Historians will one day point out just how obvious it was that we are witnessing the birth of a dictatorship.
And some future generation will lament that we didn’t stop it in its tracks early on.

The prairie fire of Bill Ayers dreams is but a spark away. And the spark will be lit by the current administration.

justltl on October 9, 2013 at 1:36 AM

The signs around lake powel in arizona are metal signs. Last week the canyonlands signs were printed from computer. And lake powel scenic turn outs (not even an entrance) has huge concrete barriers !!!!

scruplesrx on October 9, 2013 at 3:52 AM

At what point do good Americans begin to take steps to stop this? The soapbox has failed, the ballot box has failed, the Jury box isn’t even available. the only box I see left for defending freedom is the Ammo box.

If I were one of these townspeople about to be driven under by federal fiat I would be organizing a posse, maybe even a Citizen’s Army to forcibly take back the park and reopen it!

Think about it: What are a couple rangers armed with handguns and tranq rifles going to do against several town’s worth of armed people bearing down on them? These people live in these towns too. heck, I bet some of them will swap sides in a heartbeat.

This kind of thing HAS TO HAPPEN for America to wake up. Bill Ayers may find that the only thing burned by his “Prairie Fire” are him and his ilk.

wearyman on October 9, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Haven’t read all the comments…….but does anyone have any doubts that troops would fire on citizens if ordered?? I don’t. Not now. Not after this.

avagreen on October 9, 2013 at 10:27 AM

avagreen, I agree. Warning shots are the next order.

PattyJ on October 9, 2013 at 12:04 PM

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