How very generous: Feds to allow governors to pick up the tab to run some parks

posted at 7:21 pm on October 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The Obama administration has gone well out of their way to use our national parks and monuments as a bizarre and petty political bludgeon in the current battle over the government-shutdown, and as plenty of local businesses and state officials have been lamenting, the recreation and tourism and vendors in these parks and monuments are often a crucial part of regional economies. Gov. Scott Walker gained badassery points when he pretty much told the feds to take a hike after the National Park Service issued a directive to close a bunch of Wisconsin’s state parks, but other governors have been trying to nudge the Obama administration into “allowing” them to keep the parks running with cash out of their own state coffers.

The magnanimosity is overwhelming me, via the AP:

Under pressure from governors, the Obama administration said Thursday it will allow some shuttered national parks to reopen – as long as states use their own money to pay for park operations.

Governors in at least four states have asked for authority to reopen national parks within their borders because of the economic impacts caused by the park closures. All 401 national park units – including such icons as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite and Zion national parks – have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees have been furloughed, and lawmakers from both parties have complained that park closures have wreaked havoc on nearby communities that depend on tourism.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the government will consider offers to use state money to resume park operations, but will not surrender control of national parks or monuments to the states. Jewell called on Congress to act swiftly to end the government shutdown so all parks can reopen.

Various governors are considering the offer, although the feds were clear that they shouldn’t count on any federal reimbursements for the expenses once the government reopens — but for some states, like Utah, the endeavor is probably worth its salt:

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said his state would accept the federal offer to reopen Utah’s five national parks.

Utah would have to use its own money to staff the parks, and it will cost $50,000 a day to operate just one of them, Zion National Park, said Herbert’s deputy chief of staff, Ally Isom.

Others, not so much.

In Wyoming, Gov. Matt Mead’s office said the state would not pay to reopen two heavily visited national parks or the Devil’s Tower national monument.

“Wyoming cannot bail out the federal government and we cannot use state money to do the work of the federal government,” Mead spokesman Renny MacKay said Thursday.

As I argued last week, however — while this is a most munificent gesture by the Obama administration — the federal government’s control over almost a third of the surface area of the United States is a costly and even foolish endeavor that too often results in poor environmental stewardship. Subjecting the management of our country’s natural treasures to the political swings and arrows of appropriations battles is a complete unnecessary methodology when examples of successful park management via public-private partnerships already abound.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The thug-in-chief has spoken you peasants…

PappyD61 on October 10, 2013 at 7:25 PM

The States just need to do an eminent domain claiming that the federal government has been a poor steward of public lands and keeping them open for the public.

ajacksonian on October 10, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Let’s see a house bill to start the process of the feds returning land to the states.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 10, 2013 at 7:31 PM

The deadbeats can’t even keep public land open to the public, even for sites that don’t require anyone to look after them.

How pathetic is that? Surely the States can do a better job than THIS.

ajacksonian on October 10, 2013 at 7:33 PM

The States just need to do an eminent domain claiming that the federal government has been a poor steward of public lands and keeping them open for the public.

ajacksonian on October 10, 2013 at 7:29 PM

This.

Now is the perfect opportunity for states to take their land back from the federal government.

Rebar on October 10, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Now is the perfect opportunity for states to take their land back from the federal government.

Rebar on October 10, 2013 at 7:39 PM

I’ve already contacted my State Delegate and Senator in the State Legislature and urged them to start a bill to do just this.

ajacksonian on October 10, 2013 at 7:43 PM

As I argued last week, however — while this is a most munificent gesture by the Obama administration — the federal government’s control over almost a third of the surface area of the United States is a costly and even foolish endeavor that too often results in poor environmental stewardship. Subjecting the management of our country’s natural treasures to the political swings and arrows of appropriations battles is a complete unnecessary methodology when examples of successful park management via public-private partnerships already abound.

Maybe the states need to think about BUYING the parks from the Federal government and turning them into State Parks, at least for National Parks whose land is entirely within one state. State governments will probably be more attentive to the needs of the local businesses whose income depends on money from visitors to the parks.

Steve Z on October 10, 2013 at 7:47 PM

So the thugs of NPS will get paid by the States now ?

burrata on October 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM

A@@hole. This idiot has got to go.

Key West Reader on October 10, 2013 at 7:52 PM

They should just take possession of the parks and pay for them indefinitely. No need to have federal people involved at all.

astonerii on October 10, 2013 at 7:52 PM

I for one think that this is great. Take Utah: with 5 National Parks (Zions, Arches, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Canyonlands), if the shutdown lasts a long time and Utah runs the sites better, then why send them back?

That said, I think the deal is that the Park Service will reopen and run them like they did before, but send the bill to the state (and you can bet that they will bill everything they can!).

I would prefer that the states just move in and do it without letting the Feds control it still.

Vanceone on October 10, 2013 at 7:53 PM

People should invade the national parks and DEMAND to be arrested. Let’s see the thugs arrest SEVERAL THOUSAND people at one time.

GarandFan on October 10, 2013 at 7:54 PM

The eternally stoked fires of Gehenna are too good for him and his supporters.

Murphy9 on October 10, 2013 at 7:56 PM

I hope the people of these states don’t pay federal taxes as long as the states pay for federal NPS thugs .

burrata on October 10, 2013 at 8:00 PM

If they have to pay, they get all proceeds and hire their own rangers.

katy the mean old lady on October 10, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Can the states really afford to not pay park rangers to not put up Barry-cades?

RJL on October 10, 2013 at 8:04 PM

$17 trillion in debt–I say time to plant the FOR SALE sign.

hillsoftx on October 10, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Keep the shut down and eventually, one way or the other, the govt is going to be operating pretty much as normal. Yet without Obamacare funded.

anotherJoe on October 10, 2013 at 8:11 PM

You mean the Shutdown didn’t close basic communication protocols?! Money hasn’t been Shutdown???

The Nerve on October 10, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Just wondering what Wayne Gretzky is doing siitting next to Obama?

PC14 on October 10, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Shorter SCOAMT – You pay for our Fluke-ups.

Steve Eggleston on October 10, 2013 at 8:34 PM

So the thugs of NPS will get paid by the States now ?

burrata on October 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Not exactly. The states will be forced to use their own staffs, and when NPS decides it wants the parks back, they’ll send in the veterans of the Battle of the Memorials to seize them.

Steve Eggleston on October 10, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Remember when Obama promised to have a very powerful domestic military? Maybe, his use of the Park Service, the IRS, and Homeland Security are just beginning to rear their ugly heads.

mobydutch on October 10, 2013 at 8:47 PM

I say transfer the maintenance permanently to the states. This is part of devolution that must happen in the country. The federal government is too involved in all affairs of the country and that is not the intent and not the way to make a big country work.

ojfltx on October 10, 2013 at 8:48 PM

Poor English above. Maybe, the president plans to use the Park Service, the IRS, and the Homeland Security to fulfill his dreams of a powerful domestic force.

mobydutch on October 10, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Virginia and Maryland need to claim eminent domain and take back the land that D.C. sits on and make it a park where the federal government no longer sits.

cebj25 on October 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Virginia and Maryland need to claim eminent domain and take back the land that D.C. sits on and make it a park where the federal government no longer sits.

cebj25 on October 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Virginia took it back a long time ago. All of D.C. was once Md.

katy the mean old lady on October 10, 2013 at 9:24 PM

the federal government’s control over almost a third of the surface area of the United States is a costly and even foolish endeavor that too often results in poor environmental stewardship.

This is one of those things that should have been triggering alarm bells for some time, especially with a recent increase in the rate of federal acquisitions. And don’t forget their claims of ownership of fresh waters. Someone in another thread today said that this was starting to look like tyranny. I think we probably are seeing [the start of] tyranny in the rear-view mirror already.

bofh on October 10, 2013 at 9:32 PM

Who’s that dude sitting behind the president?

CurtZHP on October 10, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Told you, that’s number 99, Wayne Gretzky, sitting behind Obama.

PC14 on October 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the government will consider offers to use state money to resume park operations, but will not surrender control of national parks or monuments to the states. Jewell called on Congress to act swiftly to end the government shutdown so all parks can reopen.

They’re loosening their grip, because they’re afraid of losing their grip entirely?

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 10, 2013 at 11:57 PM

It will cost Utah $1.6 million to pay federal park workers for 10 days. It can’t just raise its debt ceiling and keep borrowing. Utah is a Republican state and has an emergency fund to help cover this. When this runs out, the Legislature will have to vote whether to continue funding or not.

If Obama had been in good faith, he could have avoided all these shutdowns. The enforcement officials he has continued to pay cost money too, as do the Barrycades he’s had placed at parks and monuments.

This reminds me a great deal of Saul Alinsky’s tactics for winning his fights with corporations and governments. It’s basically thuggery as he himself acknowledged in Rules for Radicals, basically admitting that liberal causes of the past are now abominations. In 10 or 20 years, if it lasts that long, Obamacare will be viewed the same way.

flataffect on October 11, 2013 at 12:29 AM

flataffect on October 11, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Obama, will not beheld hostage but will except ransom.

Utah agrees to pay the National Park Service (NPS) up to $1.67 million— $166,572 per day—to re-open eight national sites in Utah for up to 10 days.

Another note: VP Joe Biden has not been seen in public in nearly a month. He has also disappeared for a month at a time before.

Time for public answers about the number two man in this country. Is he mentally and physically fit to take over the duties of the president of the United States. It matters Not what you may think of him but he is the man and “We the People” need to be assured of his competency.

jpcpt03 on October 11, 2013 at 4:39 AM

Maybe Uncle Joe is renewing his plugs.
Montana won’t pay to reopen Yellowstone, either, since we have a dem gov. Glacier is already mostly closed by snow at higher elevations.

Kissmygrits on October 11, 2013 at 10:01 AM

Funny how when it is a Governor asking if states can fund parks to stay open Obama says ‘No’…then he waits a few days and passes the idea off as his own. Geesh!

easyt65 on October 11, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Many of the parks generate a net profit. Hope the states insist on keeping that money.

kurtzz3 on October 11, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Remember when Obama promised to have a very powerful domestic military? Maybe, his use of the Park Service, the IRS, and Homeland Security are just beginning to rear their ugly heads.

mobydutch on October 10, 2013 at 8:47 PM

That wouldn’t be all that hard to do. Just have a division of each agency that is devoted to security. Then a single executive order to merge them all into a single new department that provides security to all the other departments as “customers.”

You’d have to play some budget games to avoid the chance of Congress cutting off their funding, but that’s doable without any input from Congress at all.

There Goes the Neighborhood on October 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM