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BREAKING: White House Ordering Hundreds of Privately Run, Privately Funded Parks to Close

Closed companies forced to buy the Barrycades -- "We are like prisoners of war who have to pay for our prison."

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

October 2, 2013 - 12:02 pm

UPDATE 10/2/13 @ 7:27 pm Central: I just heard from Mr. Meyer. He emails:

It’s official.  They are shutting all of us down ASAP.  Marching orders straight from the White House.

Update: Mr. Meyer emails to add that not only is his business being forced to take losses for the closures, but in some cases the government is making him and the other park management companies buy the barricades that will be used to shut the parks. He says:

We are like prisoners of war who have to pay for our prison.

Original Story:

Warren Meyer of Phoenix, AZ, is owner and president of Recreation Resource Management, Inc. RRM employs about 400-500 camp workers and managers across about a dozen states. It is one of a handful of companies that have been managing national parks and campgrounds as tenants for years, through previous government shutdowns including the last one in 1995-1996. Those previous shutdowns never closed any of the parks managed in this way, but the current shutdown threatens closure.

The campgrounds are self-sufficient and receive no federal funding. No government employees staff or manage the parks. The management companies pay the National Park Service out of the funds they generate from operating the thousands of campgrounds. So the reason for the shutdown is puzzling to Meyer.

Today, he sent a letter to both of his senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake, asking for help to keep his parks open.

“My company, based in North Phoenix, operates nearly over 100 US Forest Service campgrounds and day use areas under concession contract. Yesterday, as in all past government shutdowns, the Department of Agriculture and US Forest Service confirmed we would stay open during the government shutdown. This makes total sense, since our operations are self-sufficient (we are fully funded by user fees at the gate), we get no federal funds, we employ no government workers on these sites, and we actually pay rent into the Treasury.”

Notice that last part. The parks not only do not cost the taxpayers any money, they pay funds into the Treasury out of the fees park users pay. Shutting them down will cost the taxpayers money.

How much? Meyer told the Tatler that his parks generate hundreds of thousands of dollars per week. Multiply that across his competitors and the Treasury could lose a few million dollars, in what is essentially free money to the government, over the course of the shutdown.

Which, as Meyer points out, is unnecessary, as these management companies are not revenue losers, but revenue generators for the Treasury.

He writes

However, today, we have been told by senior member of the US Forest Service and Department of Agriculture that people “above the department”, which I presume means the White House, plan to order the Forest Service to needlessly and illegally close all private operations. I can only assume their intention is to artificially increase the cost of the shutdown as some sort of political ploy.

The point of the shutdown is to close non-essential operations that require Federal money and manpower to stay open. So why is the White House closing private operations that require no government money to keep open and actually pay a percentage of their gate revenues back to the Treasury? We are a tenant of the US Forest Service, and a tenant does not have to close his business just because his landlord goes on a vacation.

The US Department of Agriculture is an executive branch agency, and answers to the White House. Another Judicial Watch FOIA may be in order to get to the bottom of this.

Meyer says he has sought clarification from the US Department of Agriculture about the shutdown. Officials are saying that they are shutting down the privately run, revenue-generating parks “to be consistent with the National Park Service.”

That would be the National Park Service which has barricaded the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., and closed a self-sufficient living history farm in Virginia.

Meyer says that the situation could cost jobs and is leaving him stranded, not knowing what to tell groups that are planning to use the parks his company manages.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
The Child Pharaoh throws another temper tantrum and declares jihad against American Parks.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sounds like Obama is holding the campgrounds "hostage".
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I assume this "consistency" of which they speak is related to the "fairness" which they constantly drag out.

43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (66)
All Comments   (66)
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The Mt Vernon estate is privately funded. It would have deteriorated into a heap if it had not been rescued. It is one of the places to see in Washington and O is probably trying to take credit for it.
I m still fuming about the closure of the huge cemetery closure in Normandy, France. I happened to see an old film of the landing on D Day and saw Eisenhower talking with the troops. He was going to take COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY for a failed landing and felt very guilty about sending many of the men to their death. I don't think obama takes responsibility for anything It infuriates me that the graves of those brave men are being used by Obama and his administration. I hope this makes all Europeans realize the man is a wimp personified. and I hope those who voted for him or sat out the election recognize that they allowed this empty suit to become president
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's time for civil disobedience. This company pays rent, manages the properties through user fees, no taxpayer money, no government workers; this is operating at a profit that goes into the Treasurey. This is a private enterprise running a profitable business. This is harrassment by obama et als to make life difficult for Americans in the hope we will blame Republicans. But it is the Dems that have said via Reid that they will not compromise. It is time for Civil Disobedience.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The petty mini-tyrants on school boards have been doing this for years. Whenever the town people threaten to cut their ever expanding fat budgets they respond by cutting services starting with the most noticeable. Their cut list has nothing to do with waste or keeping the most cost effective programs going. In fact these people are incapable of comprehending what "cost effective" means. Instead their list is topped by the most visible programs and is prioritized based on noticeability rather than necessity.
From the WH we see the same. (hey stick with what works) These are the same low-life-hick-town politricks on a grander scale. We can't really expect better from the affirmative action resident-in-chief.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought the point of a shutdown was people had to be cut to save gov money that cant then be spent. But in this case, the operation of the park costs the gov zero money, and in fact shutting it down costs money. So why is it being shut down, so dictator Obama can purposely inflect pain on us for daring to not approve his profligate spending. This is one of the cruelest and most cynical political stunts ever seen.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Did you vote for this Chicago punk? We warned you.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
The employees of the Federal Government are aggressively conditioning all of us to accept a dictatorship by exercising power they do not own. How can we stop this usurpation of our Constitutional protections from an overbearing Executive and bureaucracy?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is terrible. And something that we can try to avoid in the future by sending the message that we're not willing to put up with representatives that don't do their jobs.
http://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-of-the-united-states-and-the-united-states-congress-pass-an-annual-budget-or-go-without-pay
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We are like prisoners of war who have to pay for our prison."

Reminded me of this:

"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer."

-- Thomas Paine
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
What if they just said NO! They are self supporting and not employing government workers. The optics of the feds marching on camp grounds and hiking trails to clear parks they don't run....might be well worth it?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
They'd be facing never getting another government contract again and being harassed by the entire federal alphabet soup of agencies with law enforcement power for the rest of their existing contract. This is what happens to you when your entire business model is doing business with government; you don't control the company, the Administration does and we know this Administration believes in rewarding its friends and punishing its enemies. Anybody noticed how all the new cop cars are either Chevies or Chryslers? Wonder why nobody is buying Ford cop cars? Could it be the federal funding so many cities have come to rely so heavily on?
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Makes sense when you realize that otherwise no one would notice or care about their shutdown. Like the sequester, what will happen is a moment of clarity that we waste our money on the gubmint. Big Time.

I think this will blow up in their faces. Especially when they tally up Obama's tab from his asian trip and note how many years that would have funded parks.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
It would if the media was ata ll fair. But it isn't.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
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