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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

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October 9, 2013 - 6:53 am

In an update on the plight of Claude Moore Colonial Farm, which has been closed by the partial government shutdown, Managing Director Anna Eberly says that the National Park Service barrycaded her and her staff inside the farm today. But then, suddenly, the rangers relented.

“We have good news for you at last!” Eberly says. “The NPS has reversed their decision to close the Farm and we will be open [Wednesday] as usual. You can now visit the 18th century Farm, come to the Book Shop tomorrow afternoon, participate in Farm Skills on Thursday and have picnics at The Pavilions again. And all of our volunteers are welcome to come back ‘home’.”

The Claude Moore Colonial Farm exists on federal land but has not received any federal funding for more than 30 years. It funds itself on its own activities. Octobers is its busiest month of the year, but the shutdown has rendered it closed for more than a week. The farm was open during all previous shutdowns, and needs no federal employees for staffing or any other service. It even depends on local police for security.

“Just this morning we received the final absolute NO from the Dept. of Interior and were told the Farm would not open until the shutdown ended. An hour later the Park Police showed up and closed and barricaded the office gates with us inside. This has been a very rough week and we are profoundly grateful that this is ending.”

But in a dramatic reversal, the National Park Service now says the farm can open.

“We have no idea why the NPS changed its mind but we are very pleased that they did and hope that every group trying to operate on Federal lands has the same happy outcome,” Eberly says. Eberly credits press coverage and an outpouring of support from private individuals for the NPS’ reversal. The threat of lawsuits challenging the NPS’ unprecedented, arbitrary and capricious behavior may have been a factor as well.

The Obama administration’s shutdown theater has largely backfired on the president and forever tarnished the image of the National Park Service. President Obama controls the executive branch agencies like the Department of the Interior, which controls the National Park Service. Obama’s approval rating has freefallen to 43% as his administration deployed the National Park Service to close not only the Claude Moore Colonial Farm, which has been self-sufficient since 1980, but also the Florida Bay, Mount Rushmore, unmanned scenic routes along thoroughfares, hundreds of privately managed parks and restaurants that pay into the Treasury, war memorials, briefly shut off the FBI’s Amber Alert website, and even cut off funding for death benefits for military families. The Obama administration also cut off sports broadcasts to military serving overseas, which are mostly handled by active duty military whose funding continued, and threatened to arrest contract priests who serve military chapels. All of these closures are unprecedented, and none of them were necessary to keep the partially shut down government going.

The week of closure has cost the Claude Moore Colonial Farm vital revenue, as it has cost all of the privately managed parks. Eberly writes that farm staff need help setting up for the Fall Market Fair, held on Oct. 19 & 20, to start making up for that lost revenue. If you are in the McLean, VA area and would like to help, you can email jengel@1771.org.

More: 

Sandcastles? Verboten! Obama Boots Kids’ Sandcastle Contest off Beach

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.

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Top Rated Comments   
Nevada Barr, a former National Park Service ranger, has written a popular series of mysteries featuring a fictional NPS ranger that are (unintentionally, I think) revealing about the NPS's culture. The presumption of ownership of the parks by NPS personnel and their resentful suspicion of the public abounds. It's hard to read one of her books without coming away with the sensation of just having visited an inchoate police state.

I highly recommend reading a few of these if you want to get a sense of the National Park Service.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not cheered by this. The law is not supposed to be capricious; and these closures all look, feel and act capricious, as if we should survive at the whim of the federal government.
I know none of this is being covered by LSM, but we need to get the word out to our fellow citizens that the leviathan has grown too large.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
What was the rationale for threatening WWI vets with arrest but allowing illegal immigrants to protest on the Mall?

Rhetorical question. There was no reason.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (33)
All Comments   (33)
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Another thought. Once obamacare has went forward to the point that we all depend on the associated fed systems for our health care, the next shutdown tyrant will not only be able to do thekind of petty stuff this artical describes, but can shutdown our health carea well. And if we ever go to single payer, which the leftists advocate once obamacare fails, will we see barrycades on our doctors offices and pharmacies. This has convinced me even more than I want no fed involvement whatever in any area of life that I personally need, since the spite house can then take it away at their whim.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since it's NPS Rangers, who are technically law enforcement officers, who are the point of the spear here, I have a suggestion. Let's de-police the NPS. Strip all NPS employees of law enforcement powers and prohibit any NPS employee from ever being granted such powers again. In fact, let's extend that to the entire federal government. The FBI and US Marshalls would be the only federal agencies granted police powers. (the Secret service can be folded into the Marshalls.)
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Claude Moore Medical Library at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. A great man, far greater than our current president.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Wonder what tune the Rangers would sing if the NPS were suddenly decided to be non-essential?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is past th time to begin making lists of all of the government shutdown atrocities and take the names of those responsible for them.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
See, the king is wise and beneficent. He taketh away and he giveth when we behave!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
But EVERY government employee will receive back pay for the "shutdown".
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Nevada Barr, a former National Park Service ranger, has written a popular series of mysteries featuring a fictional NPS ranger that are (unintentionally, I think) revealing about the NPS's culture. The presumption of ownership of the parks by NPS personnel and their resentful suspicion of the public abounds. It's hard to read one of her books without coming away with the sensation of just having visited an inchoate police state.

I highly recommend reading a few of these if you want to get a sense of the National Park Service.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
This explains something I experienced years ago at Ft Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

This was during the legal fight over who would ultimately get possession of the CSS Hunley.

South Carolina claimed it - but the National Park Service via the federal government likewise were claiming it.

Fortunately, South Carolina won, but that question was raised as a question to one of the park rangers while at the fort.

He kind of had a smirk and said to the effect "It's ours, we'll get it."

I had a sense of warm pleasure when I found out how the legal case went.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think, as noted in the posting, that the image of the National Park Service has been damaged and will probably take a while to repair. This is something that the administration probably does not care about as long as it thinks that these consequences of the shutdown serves its purposes. If the administration thought that the NPS actions would seriously hurt the Democrats, as opposed to the current thought that Republicans would be blamed, in the 2014 elections, the change in NPS attitude would be breathtakingly swift.

I would point out that the individual rangers are employees whose careers depends on doing what the organization orders them to do. Refusing to obey can seriously affect them after this shutdown is resolved and may be then half-forgotten. Defiance of their bosses even when the orders look arbitrary and capricious is not something most employees would undertake until it passes some "line" in their mind that shifts the tradeoffs.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not cheered by this. The law is not supposed to be capricious; and these closures all look, feel and act capricious, as if we should survive at the whim of the federal government.
I know none of this is being covered by LSM, but we need to get the word out to our fellow citizens that the leviathan has grown too large.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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